DAKAR, Senegal, March 27, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- PRELIMINARY DECLARATION
1. Following the first round of the Presidential Election in Senegal held on 26 February, 2012 the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Kadré Désiré Ouedraogo, in pursuance of the relevant provisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, deployed an Observer Mission of one hundred (100) members to observe the run-off Presidential Election of 25 March 2012.
2. Led by H.E. Koffi Sama, former Prime Minister of the Togolese Republic, the Mission is part of ECOWAS' efforts at ensuring the completion of a credible and transparent electoral process aimed at consolidating peace and democracy in the country.
3. Prior to the election day, the Head of Mission met respectively with the Minister in charge of Elections, the Minister of Interior, the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENA), and the President of the National Vote Tabulation Commission, as well as both candidates for the run-off Presidential Election, namely H.E. Abdoulaye Wade of Fal 2012 Coalition and Mr Macky Sall of the Benno Bokk Yakaar Coalition. He also met with the leaders of the 23 June Movement (M23), the representatives of domestic Observer groups and held consultations with the Heads of the African Union, UEMOA and European Union Observer Missions.
4. These consultations enabled the Mission to take stock of the efforts deployed to improve the organisational and security conditions of the ballot. In addition to the measures aimed at availing electoral materials in the various regions, the Mission was informed of the arrangements made to strengthen the security of electoral materials and polling centres as well as the security of general environment, with a view to ensuring the free expression of voting. Furthermore, it noted the commitment of all stakeholders to guaranteeing that the ballot is held in the same conditions of peace and calm as in the first round. The Mission particularly noted the significant improvement of the electoral environment with regard to the peaceful atmosphere that prevailed over the electoral campaign, even though a few incidents were recorded during the period.
5. Based on the information gathered by the teams deployed across the fourteen administrative regions of Senegal, the Mission took note of the following:
The timely beginning of the ballot in virtually all polling centres;
The order, calm and cordiality that prevailed throughout the voting process;
The availability of adequate electoral materials in the polling stations;
The electoral officers' mastery of procedures and ability to facilitate voting operations;
The effective presence of the representatives of both candidates in the polling stations;
The effective presence of law enforcement officers in the polling centres across all the regions;
A good turnout in the morning, which was not sustained in the afternoon
The smooth conduct of the counting and collation processes in accordance with electoral law.
6. On the whole, the Mission noted that there was no major obstacle or incident that could have rendered the voting process irregular. While awaiting the end of the tallying process, which is being observed in certain regions (Dakar, Thiès, Diourbel, Fatick, Kaolack, Kaffrine), the Mission considers that the 25 March run-off Presidential Election generally met the conditions of freedom, fairness and transparency.
7. Consequently, the ECOWAS Mission commends the efforts made by the Senegalese authorities and all other stakeholders to ensure the peaceful and transparent conduct of the ballot. The Mission especially hails the sense of civic duty of the Senegalese citizens who turned out in a disciplined manner to exercise their voting rights. The participation of women is to be underscored, and also deserves commendation.
8. The Mission congratulates the CENA for the improvements made in the control of operations and the election officials for the efficiency with which they managed the process. It further commends the exemplary and republican behaviour shown by the security agents during the voting process.
9. The Mission considers that this ballot will certainly mark a further step toward consolidating the democratic gains and political stability of Senegal. It calls for the collective consciousness of all Senegalese nationals who should put first the high interest of the Nation in the completion of this electoral process.
10. In this regard, the mission took note of the congratulations extended by H.E. Abdoulaye Wade to Mr Macky Sall prior to the official announcement of the results. It commends this greatness of mind shown by President Wade, which thus confirms the democratic tradition of Senegal and preserves the unity of the country built historically on the values of peace and tolerance. The mission urges all Senegalese nationals to preserve the same state of mind throughout the conclusion of the process by ensuring, at all times, the respect for order and discipline.
11. The Mission is hopeful that the conditions of freedom, fairness and transparency of this Presidential Election will pave the way for upcoming elections, thus making it possible to guarantee the expression of democratic plurality. Consequently, it urges the lifeblood of the Nation to work consensually at preparing such elections and to promote inclusiveness for the economic and social development of the country.
12. The ECOWAS Observer Mission thanks the Senegalese authorities, the CENA and the people of Senegal for their cooperation and for all logistical and security measures taken to facilitate the deployment of observers and enable them to efficiently fulfil their mission.
Done in Dakar on 26 March 2012
The Head of Mission