2.12.2009

SADC Parliamentary Forum Says Polls Fair

ELECTIONS in Namibia were fair and transparent, the Parliamentary Forum of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said yesterday, but it recommended reducing voting to one day, more polling stations in future and the "timely release of results".

Briefing the media in Windhoek, the leader of the SADC PF, Andre Pool, an MP from the Seychelles, said his team of 40 observers declared the elections "to have been on the whole free, transparent and credible".

To be able to declare them free, one would have to wait for the outcome of the final results and his mission would submit its final election report 90 days from now, Pool said.

"Improvement is needed in areas like provisions in the electoral law which would give equal airtime to all parties at NBC, and polling materials should be adequate and in place before elections."

The SADC PF mission further recommended that the Electoral Commission of Namibia should increase the number of polling stations to reduce long queues and "reduce polling days from two to one as is the case in other SADC countries".

"The ECN should improve on the counting process to ensure timely release of results to avoid unnecessary tension, anxiety and suspicion," Pool said on behalf of his observer team.

The 40 observers visited 161 polling stations in 56 constituencies.

The team noticed "vigorous coverage of the electoral process in a balanced manner" by the print media, but took note of complaints against the State broadcaster NBC "that its coverage was mostly tilted towards the ruling (Swapo) Party". (ALL AFRICA)

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