The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to send a 90-man election observation mission to the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in the Republic of Niger.
ECOWAS, in a statement on Tuesday, said the observers will include10 in the long term and 80 in the short term, to observe the elections.
Niger’s elections are scheduled to hold on 27 December 2020. The president is elected using the two-round system; if no candidate receives a majority of the vote in the first round, a second round will be held on 21 February 2021.
“These 90 observers from ECOWAS Member States except Niger, the ECOWAS Court of Justice and the Parliament of the Community, have the mission to ensure the smooth running of the electoral process for a free, transparent and credible election in Niger,” the statement said.
It also specified that Nigeria’s former vice-president, Namadi Sambo, would lead the observation mission. The observers will be supported on the ground by a technical assistance team from the ECOWAS Commission comprising General Francis Béhanzin, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Dr Remi Ajibewa, Director of Political Affairs, Mr Françis Oke, Head of the Electoral Assistance Division and other officials.
The observers will be deployed in all eight regions of the country to observe and monitor all pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral operations of the polls and to comment on their conduct.
This observation will focus in particular on the regularity, transparency, fairness and smooth running of the presidential and legislative elections.
As a prelude to the deployment of the mission, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou led a joint high-level ECOWAS-African Union solidarity mission to Niamey on 3 and 4 December, with the aim of meeting and sensitising the various actors involved in the electoral process so that Sunday’s vote can be held in peace.
At the end of the poll, the ECOWAS electoral observation mission will express its opinion and make, if necessary, recommendations to the various stakeholders in the electoral process.
This will be through a preliminary statement by the head of the mission at a press conference scheduled for Niamey the day after the polls
ECOWAS has appealed to the 30 presidential candidates to ensure that the election is held in peace, tranquillity, serenity and national cohesion.
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