The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) has clarified that it did not endorse the controversial Malawi election as “free, fair and credible”, saying in its preliminary findings such an observers cliché was not used.
The EU EOM in a statement was reacting to a Nyasa Times article which punched holes to the credibility of international elections observers who declared elections credible yet Malawi’s own electoral commission conceded the elections have been profoundly compromised.
A London-based paper Breitbart also reported on Thursday a scathing attack on EU EOM for approving the Malawian elections, despite the fact they were so flawed that the country’s President Joyce Banda was forced to offer her resignation in exchange for fresh elections in order for the true will of the people to prevail.
But in a statement issued by Silvia de Félix, media analyst and public outreach officer for the EU EOM, said the speech of Chief Observer Veronique De Keyser during the new conference -where they presented their preliminary findings – did not contain the words “free, fair and credible”.
“The Chief Observer clearly stressed, in the beginning and at the end of her speech, that, the EU EOM is currently observing this process and will only be in a position to present its final assessment once the elections are concluded,” said the statement.
“We are currently in the beginning of the third phase of the electoral process, the tabulation of results, and this remains to be assessed,” EU EOM said.
The EU observers said they will remain in the country to observe the end of tabulation of results and to follow up on any election complaints and appeals that may arise.
“The mission will publish a final report with a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process, including recommendations, a few weeks after the conclusion of the electoral process,” the statement.
Electoral observation and monitoring have become an integral part of the democratic and electoral processes around the world.
Some analysts have been critical of the electoral commission’s conduct of the poll, which they said could undermine the credibility of the vote.