The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is deploying 130 observers to monitor the general election 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, would be to ensure the smooth running of the electoral process for free, transparent, and credible election.
According to a statement, issued by the ECOWAS Commission, on Friday, the Mission would comprise 15 long-term and 115 short-term observers.
The short-term observers would 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 would also comprise representatives of the region’s national electoral commissions and experts trained at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre, in Accra, Ghana.
Amos Sawyer, a former interim President of the Liberia’s National Unity Government, would lead the short-term Election Observation Mission.
The Commission said the 15 long-term observers, were experts in security, Gender, Electoral Operations, Constitutional Law and Communication Experts.
The long and short-term missions would be supported on the ground by an ECOWAS Commission Technical Support Team, comprising the President of the Commission, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, as well as the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman.
The Director in-charge of political Affairs of the Commission, Dr Remi Ajibewa and other officials of the Institution would be part of the team.
The Commission said observers would 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 would 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 would express its opinion and, if necessary, give recommendations to different stakeholders in the electoral process.
Fifteen (15) candidates would contest in the first round of the Presidential Election on February 21, 2016.
The candidates are the incumbent president, Mahamadou Issoufou, who has been in power since 2011, Abdou Labo, Ibrahim Yacouba, Mahamane Ousmane, Seini Oumarou and Adal Rhoubeid.
The others are: Mahamane Jean Padonou, Kassoum Moctar, Laouan Magagi, Tahirou Guimba as well as Cheiffou Amadou are also on the start line for the presidential election.
The rest are: Mahamane Hamissou, Abdoulaye Traoré, Hama Amadou and Amadou Boubacar.
In addition to electing their president for the next five years, the people of Niger cast their ballot on the same day to elect their 171 parliamentarians.
“ECOWAS calls on the candidates, political party leaders and their supporters to maintain peace, tranquility and national unity during the double election,” the Commission said.