AMOS Sawyer, former interim president of the Liberia national unity government, will lead the short-term Election Observation Mission of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to monitor the legislative and presidential elections due to be held on Sunday, February 21, in Niger.
The main objective of the mission deployed by the regional organisation, as per its supplementary Protocol on democracy and good governance, will be to ensure the smooth running of the electoral process for free, transparent and credible election.
The mission will comprisef 130 observers, 15 long-term and 115 short-term. The short-term observers will come from ECOWAS Member States, (with the exception of Niger), the ECOWAS Court of Justice, the Council of Elders of the regional organisation, and the Community Parliament. The short-term mission will also comprise representatives of the region’s national electoral commissions and experts trained at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre in Accra, Ghana.
Regarding the 15 long-term observers, they are security, gender, electoral operation, constitutional law and communication experts.
The long and short-term missions will be supported on the ground by an ECOWAS Commission technical support team comprising the president of the Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo as well as Salamatu Suleiman, he Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. Remi Ajibewa, director in charge of political Affairs of the Commission, and other officials of the Institution will be part of the team.
The observers will be deployed to all the regions of the country to observe and monitor all the pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral operations and to comment on the outcome of the elections. The observation will be on the regularity, transparency, equity and smooth conduct of the legislative and presidential elections.
At the end of the elections, the ECOWAS election observation mission will express its opinion and, if necessary, give recommendations to different stakeholders in the electoral process. That will be in favour of the opening statement of the Head of the mission, Amos Sawyer, at a press conference to be held on February 22, in Niamey.
Fifteen candidates will contest in the first round of the presidential election on February 21m The candidates are the outgoing president, Mahamadou Issoufou who has been in power since 2011, Abdou Labo, Ibrahim Yacouba, Mahamane Ousmane, Seini Oumarou and Adal Rhoubeid.
Mahamane Jean Padonou, Kassoum Moctar, Laouan Magagi, Tahirou Guimba as well as Cheiffou Amadou are also on the start line for the presidential election.
Mahamane Hamissou, Abdoulaye Traoré, Hama Amadou as well as Amadou Boubacar desire to hold Niger’s highest office.
In addition to electing their president for the next five years, the people of Niger will go to the ballot box on Sunday, 21 February 2016 to elect their 171 parliamentarians.
ECOWAS calls on the candidates, political party leaders and their supporters to maintain peace, tranquillity and national unity during the double election.
— Feb 29, 2016 @ 01:00 GMT