The elections observer missions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) on Monday jointly briefed the media on their preliminary findings.
The occasion was geared towards sharing their preliminary findings and sharing their recommendations to the public.
The press conference was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Centre in Bijilo.
According to the ECOWAS Preliminary statement, pursuant to Article 12 and other relevant provisions of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001), and other relevant regional and international instructions, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to The Gambia, led by the former President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
“The EOM is part of the ECOWAS’ support to the democratic transition process in The Gambia. The technical team dispatched 40 observers who were divided into 20 teams to the 7 regions of the Gambia, who visited 586 polling stations in 20 constituencies.
The ECOWAS mission observes the timely deployment of voting materials and early arrival of polling officials at polling stations, the visible un-obstructive presence of security agents (2 police personnel per polling station), the professional conduct of the polling officials, that the election day processes were conducted lately in compliance with the legal framework and stipulated procedures and that there was a Low voter turnout compared to the December 4th presidential election, amongst others.
Nevertheless, some of the shortcomings of this National Assembly election are low representation of independent candidates agents in most of the polling stations, inadequate materials for sorting and counting of votes such as sieve and the piece of cloth and the non-compliance with COVID-19 protocols during the entire electoral process from the campaigns to elections day.
The AU Elections Observation Mission (AUEOM) also shared its preliminary findings, and among what has been observed is a peaceful and orderly voting process, committed and professional polling staff, presence of party agents in polling stations, unsystematic presence of citizen observers amongst others, significant Participation of women as polling staff.
The AUEOM deployed 19 observers in 17 constituencies across the country, who visited 83 polling stations on election day to observe the opening, voting, closing and counting procedures in their respective areas of deployment, with 71% in urban and 29% in rural areas.