Members of the Commonwealth Election Observation Review Group are meeting at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London this week to review observation guidelines that were first drafted 27 years ago.
Since then, the Commonwealth has observed 136 elections in 38 countries.
Addressing the group, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “Since 1991, there have been many developments in approaches to election observation and in the conduct of elections, notably with regard to the use of information and communication technology for the management of elections, women’s political participation and new media.
“So it is timely for there to be thorough reconsideration and revision of the guidelines. This is the first time in a generation that Commonwealth members collectively will re-examine, refresh and refocus this important aspect of our work. Your deliberations will help shape the future of this valuable work.”
Former Bahamas Prime Minster Hubert Ingraham is chairing the observation review group. He noted that election observations are a core activity for the Commonwealth, integral to its work in advancing democratic values and principles in member countries.
Currently a Commonwealth observation team, led by John Dramani Mahama, former President of Ghana, is in Sierra Leone ahead of the general election on March 7.
The Secretary-General concluded her welcome by saying: “I hope that colleagues will be really pleased that young people are saying that the Commonwealth is the only organisation ‘walking the talk’ and including them at the table, where they have valuable things to say, like the Vote Like a Boss initiative that came out of Guyana.