The Commonwealth will deploy a group to Antigua and Barbuda to observe the general elections scheduled for 18 January.
Former President of Seychelles, Danny Faure, will lead the delegation.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, announced the composition of the Commonwealth Observation Group (COG) on 5 January in response to an invitation from the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.
On the election day, the country will vote to choose constituency representatives to the House of Representatives.
“I thank Danny Faure for accepting my invitation to lead this group and each of the Commonwealth observers for agreeing to undertake this important assignment,” said the Secretary-General in her recent statement.
“The group, which is independent and impartial, will assess the overall conduct of the election and, at the end, make recommendations which will contribute towards strengthening the electoral process in Antigua and Barbuda.”
“The group’s mandate is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting, tabulation procedures and the overall electoral environment as well as consider any factors that could impinge upon the credibility of the process as a whole.”
Prior to deployment, the group will also have briefings with the country’s political party representatives, police officers and several stakeholders, including officials from the Electoral Commission, the media and social society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities.
The group will submit its recommendations in a report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, the country’s Electoral Commission, the leadership of political parties taking part in the elections and all Commonwealth governments.
The report will be made public shortly after.
The group comprises five eminent persons from across the Commonwealth. They will be supported by a staff team from the Secretariat led by Prof. Luis Franceschi, Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.
The group is expected to arrive in Saint John’s, capital of Antigua and Barbuda, on 14 January.
The nation gained independence in 1981, but still recognises the UK monarch as its head of state.