OAS observers issue preliminary recommendations
NASSAU, Bahamas – The Electoral Observation mission of the Organisation of American States (OAS/EOM) to The Bahamas has urged the government to consider modernising its electoral processes to improve efficiency and security, and reduce the level of human error.
The recommendation from the EOM, was based on the team observing that the electoral procedures are currently developed in a largely manual fashion, including the registration process and the issuance of the voter’s card.
The EOM in delivering its preliminary report today, also highlighted the steps taken to ensure that citizens living abroad could have the opportunity to exercise their franchise, noting that this is unique in the region.
However, it noted some issues related to the delivery of the Advanced Poll and expressed concern regarding the lapse in the contract of the Parliamentary Commissioner, and the designation of a new Commissioner, just five days before the General Elections.
The EOM said it was also pleased to observe an increase in the number of female candidates in this electoral process, but noted that according to the preliminary results, only five women may have seats in the House of Assembly. The team has suggested measures to promote women’s participation and leadership in politics.
Regarding campaign financing, the Mission reiterated its 2012 recommendation to introduce legislation to regulate political-campaign financing.
The EOM also congratulated the people of The Bahamas on their continued commitment to democracy and on their determination to exercise their constitutional right to vote, stating that this was reflected in the high turnout rage at the polls.
In addition, the observers acknowledged the openness and cooperation of stakeholders and all citizens, in facilitating the Mission’s work.
It said a detailed report on its observations and recommendations will be presented to the OAS Permanent Council in Washington, DC.
The team, led by OAS Ombudsman Sherry Tross, thanked the governments of Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Serbia, Spain, South Korea and the United States for their financial contributions that made the Mission possible.
The EOM, comprised 11 observers of eight nationalities.
The team was present in 29 constituencies and visited 157 polling stations. (CMC)