Antananarivo, Madagascar: On 9th November 2018, the Head of the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2018 Presidential Election in the Republic of Madagascar, Honourable Joseph Malanji, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia, released the Mission's Preliminary Statement, at a media event held at the Colbert Hotel in Antananarivo, Madagascar, following the Presidential Elections which were held on 7th November 2018.
In the Preliminary Statement, the SEOM observed that the 2018 Presidential Election in Madagascar was conducted in an orderly and professional manner, and within the requirements of the legal framework of the Republic of Madagascar and further, in accordance with the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).
The SEOM Head of Mission commended the Government, the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the People of Madagascar for conducting themselves in an exemplary manner during the election period. The SEOM Head of Mission commended the public media for providing prime time coverage to all political parties and the military for maintaining professionalism during the election period.
The SEOM Preliminary Statement observed a number of good practices worth sustaining. These include the calm and peaceful political and security environment before, during, and immediately after polling day and adherence to the laws and legal provisions governing presidential elections, particularly, the requirement that the incumbent President should resign 60 days before a presidential election if the incumbent desires to be a candidate in that election.
In the Preliminary Statement, SEOM makes a number of key recommendations to further strengthen Madagascar’s political systems. These recommendations include, among others, the need to revise legal provisions to hold harmonised elections; provision for continuous registration of voters by permitting such to be done throughout the year; intensified voter education for citizens; timely delivery of electoral materials; enforcement of the rules on election campaign finances; strong political party institutions and the need for the development, adoption and enforcement of an Electoral Code of Conduct for electoral stakeholders.
The SEOM to the 2018 Madagascar Presidential Elections was constituted by observers from eleven (11) SADC Member States namely; Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A total of 53 observers were deployed who covered 10 regions of Madagascar.
The presentation of the SEOM Preliminary Statement was jointly convened by SADC Secretariat, the International Organisation for la Francophone (IOF) and the SADC Lawyers Association, each of which presented its own independent statement. The event was attended by representatives from CENI, SADC Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Madagascar, representatives of the international observation missions, the diplomatic missions in Madagascar, the United Nations, political parties, civil society organisations, the media and other electoral stakeholders.
Also in attendance were the SADC Special Envoy to Madagascar, His Excellency Joaquim Chissano, Former President of the Republic of Mozambique; the Special Advisor of the United Nations Secretary General to the Republic of Madagascar, His Excellency, Professor Abdoulaye Bathily and the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Jorge Cardoso.
The SEOM final report of the 2018 Presidential Elections in Madagascar will be completed and issued within 90 days after the close of the poll in accordance with the provisions of the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections (2015).