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Election observer

Aqela Susu
Thursday, November 09, 2017

FIJI'S Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem will be among the Commonwealth Observer Group deployed to observe the general election in Tonga, scheduled for November 16.

The group will be led by New Zealand's former speaker of parliament and former attorney-general Margaret Wilson and comprise Mr Saneem, Nauru Electoral Commissioner Joseph Cain and Swaziland's human rights lawyer Lomcebo Dlamini.

Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland said the group would observe the election and work closely with the observers from the Pacific Islands Forum secretariat in supporting Tonga's democracy, national election and sharing best practice.

"These elections are crucial for the people of Tonga as it strengthens the democratic process in the Kingdom," Ms Scotland said.

The group will consider the pre-electoral environment, the poll, the count and declaration of results.

A statement from the Commonwealth secretariat reiterated that the observer group would function with impartiality and independence and would conduct itself according to the standards set out in the International Declaration of Principles for Election Observation, to which the Commonwealth was a signatory.

Upon the completion of their deployment, the group will submit its final report to Ms Scotland who will then share it with the Tongan Government, the Tongan Electoral Commission, Speaker of Parliament, relevant civil society organisations and with all Commonwealth governments and the public.

The group will be in Tonga from today until November 20.

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