Local observers’ interim report on Anse Aux Pins by-election-‘Election was free, credible and peaceful, but not fair’


13-August-2012

The presentation of the report on Saturday

Presenting an interim report at Lungos offices on Saturday, CDWS chairman Michael Padayachy said the by-election was “not fair” because not all candidates had been granted equal air time.

He was referring to independent candidate Lucas Georges who was not given air time on national radio and television, on par with the two political parties contesting the election at the opening and close of the campaign.

The electoral law provides for air time on radio and television at the opening and close of the campaign. The issue was brought to the Supreme Court, which upheld the law as it stands. It is now a matter for the Electoral Forum, of which the CDWS is part, to make recommendations it feels is necessary to be incorporated in new legislation.

Another flaw, according to the CDWS, was the voters’ register, which it says should remain
open throughout the year, not just in January.

“As it is, Seychellois returning home, or those who have been released from prison after January, cannot have their names added to the register, Mr Padayachy said. 

He added that if the register remains open, there would be no need to include so many persons aged only 17 or less as is presently the case.

“There is a clear need for the voters’ register to remain open prior to any election, such as the one just held at Anse Aux Pins,” he said.

Mr Padayachy also claimed there have been reports of voter buying, but had no evidence of that.
 
Pressed for more information, he said that accusations were made against all three sides in the by-election.

He also mentioned some “mal practices” during the “cooling off period”.

One CDWS member, Jean-Claude Matombe, deplored that some party newspapers were published during the “cooling off period” calling on voters to vote for one candidate, in flagrant violation of the electoral code.

Another remarked that attempts at electioneering continued, even on the main polling day.

However, it was generally agreed at the meeting that the by-election was conducted in a peaceful environment, with no violent incident reported.

It was also stressed that the CDWS is not concerned solely with elections, but also with democracy, transparency and human rights.

It is to be recalled that the Parti Lepep candidate, Meggy Marie, won Friday’s by-election with 1,317 votes out of the total 2,137 valid votes. Independent candidate Lucas Georges came second with 650 votes, while Jane Carpin of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) came third, scoring 170 votes.

Altogether 2,421 voters – out of a total of 3,217 registered voters in that district -- turned up to cast their votes at the Anse Aux Pins school.

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