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Preliminary declaration Cabo Verde 2016 – presidential election

 Praia, octobre 2016


 1- Pursuant to the provisions of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001), HE. Marcel de Souza, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to observe the presidential election in the Republic of Cabo Verde on 2nd October 2016.

 2- The Mission headed by HE. Dr. Thomas Boni Yayi, former President of the Republic of Benin, was composed of 50 members including 40 short-term observers and 10 long-term experts. The EOM’s main objective was to ensure the smooth running of the electoral process and to support the people of Cape Verde in sustaining its exemplary and long-lasting democratic tradition of free, transparent and credible elections.

 3- The Mission included Ambassadors accredited to ECOWAS, representatives of the ECOWAS Court of Justice and electoral experts representing the election management bodies of Member States. It also included representatives of the civil society organisations and the media. A technical team led by H.E. Marcel Alain de Souza from the ECOWAS Commission supported the mission.

4- This observation was done on the bases of the following:

 – Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance – African Charter on Democracy and Governance  – International Declaration on the Principles of Election Observation – The relevant legal texts guiding electoral processes in the Republic of Cape Verde


 5- As part of its support for the electoral process in Cabo Verde, the ECOWAS Commission had taken the following steps:




(i) Deploying a pre-election fact-finding mission in July 2016; (ii) Deploying a Long-term Election Observation Mission from 10th September to 10th October 2016; (iii) Establishing a situation room in Praia to serve as coordinating center and early warning and response mechanism to ensure effective monitoring of the electoral process; (iv) Deploying short-term observers from 25th September to 5th October 2016.


 6- The electoral campaign opened on 17th September 2016 and was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere throughout the territory. The political parties and candidates behaved in an exemplary manner and complied with the texts and laws governing the process.    7- The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), in accordance with the law, created the enabling conditions to ensure equal and cost-free access of candidates to public and private media.


 8- Following the activities of the Long-term EOM Long Term (MOELT), the Head of the ECOWAS Observation Mission arrived in Praia and met with the Speaker of the Parliament, as the Interim President of the Republic of Cabo Verde, given that as a candidate, the outgoing president had to step aside in line with the Cabo Verdean Constitution. He also met with the National Electoral Commission (CNE) and the candidates, as well as the head of the African Union Election Observation Mission, H.E. Manuel S. Nhamadjo, former Interim President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau.

 9- At the conclusion of these meetings, the Head of Mission urged the citizens of Cabo Verde to come out massively on Election Day to execute their civic duty in a peaceful and disciplined manner.

 10- Cabo Verde has organized three elections in one year for the first time. However, the measures taken by the various actors of the electoral process during the legislative and municipal elections facilitated the preparations and increased the transparency of the elections of 2nd October 2016. In that regard, the Mission noted:

 – good preparations for the election; – the conditions created to ensure the confidence of stakeholders and citizens on the system and ensure the smooth conduct of the process, particularly through compliance with the electoral timetable and mandate of institutions involved in the organization of elections; – the arrangements made to ensure free and democratic vote of all registered voters both in the islands and in the diaspora;


– the efforts made by government authorities to ensure the payment of all costs relating to the electoral process from its own resources.


 Deployment, opening, conducts of the election and vote counting

 11- Members of the ECOWAS observer team were deployed on 9 of the 10 Islands of Cabo Verde with the exception of the island of Brava due to difficulty of access. The mission covered 480 polling stations representing 47% of the polling stations in the country. After careful preliminary assessment of the information forwarded to the situation room by observers deployed in the field and after a debriefing session with the observers upon their return from the field, the Mission noted:

 (i) The peaceful environment that prevailed throughout the electoral process; (ii) Effective inclusion of some significant diaspora votes (iii) The availability of electoral materials on time in most polling stations; (iv) The effective presence of electoral officers in all polling stations; (v) The professionalism and mastery of procedures by the electoral officers; (vi) The low voter mobilization to cast their votes; (vii) The presence of observers, notably the AU, particularly on the Santiago islands as well as in the other islands;  (viii) The smooth conduct of the vote counting process in line with the Electoral Code and related texts; (ix) No major incident was noted throughout the electoral process; (x) Major advancement of the Republic of Cabo Verde in the effective use of information technology in elections and database storage of sensitive information for certain sectors (banks, insurance etc…) which can be of benefit to the region.

 12- The Mission noted that the election of 2nd October 2016 was conducted in remarkably free and transparent conditions. This sixth (6th) presidential election is indeed a milestone in the consolidation of democratic gains of the people of Cabo Verde and demonstrates the maturity of all stakeholders as well as the proper functioning of the institutions.

 13- The ECOWAS Observer Mission commends the professionalism of the National Electoral Commission (CNE) and the Directorate-General for Support to the Electoral Process (DGAPE) in the conduct of the process. The mission encourages the authorities and people of Cabo Verde to sustain their efforts in strengthening the democratic culture that makes West Africa proud through respect for rule of law, discipline and preservation of peace values. The Mission urges them to keep this spirit throughout the rest of the electoral process until the announcement of interim and final results.


 14- The Head of Mission urged the CNE to share its rich and successful experience in organizing elections with its counterparts in the ECOWAS region, particularly through the ECOWAS Network of Electoral Commissions (ECONEC). Based on this shared experiences, ECOWAS could play a leadership role in sharing its experience with other regional communities with a view to coming up with a harmonised code of conduct at the Continental level.

 15- Furthermore, in order to improve future elections, the Mission at this juncture recommends:

  that required reforms and measures are taken to encourage greater participation of the citizens. This could be done through the involvement of civil society organisations in the electoral process through awareness campaigns;

  to consider the possibility of organizing general elections (presidential, legislative and municipal together) to reduce costs of  organizing elections and spur interests in the elections;

  to sustain the consistent improvement of the electoral system to make it more efficient, in order to arrive at the introduction of electronic voting.

 16- The ECOWAS Mission thanks the authorities of Cabo Verde and the various structures involved in the organization of elections for the security and logistics measures put in place to facilitate the deployment of observers and enable them effectively accomplish their mission.  17- Finally, the Mission expressed its sincere gratitude to the international community and urged them to continue their support to Cabo Verde to consolidate the electoral governance, political, economic and social gains.

 Done at Praia, 2nd October 2016

 The Head of Mission

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