Election Observer Mission reports

l-r:Harald Jepsen, Political/Campaign analyst; Hon Julian Robinson MP Jamaica, Head of Mission; Anne Marlborough, Ireland, Election/Legal Analyst; speak with the press at their first press conference

An international Election Observer Mission (British Islands and Mediterranean Region) BIMR Election Observation Mission visited Montserrat between 11 and 20 November, 2019. The Mission comprised seven members of five different nationalities. It assessed the framework for elections and the conduct of election day for compliance with domestic law and international standards for elections.

Right after voting closed, head of the International Election Mission Julian Robinson MP from Jamaica said that his team visited all of the polling stations throughout the day. He said the process was smooth and the staff was very well trained. Robinson called it one of the smoothest elections he had ever seen.

He and his team released their preliminary findings on the election observation on Wednesday morning to the press at the DMCA where they had set up their office.

After an opening press conference on the previous week Wednesday, they confirmed and added to their brief initial report of Monday evening and more ending with recommendations.

The Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Montserrat took place between 11 and 20 November 2019 and comprised seven members of five different nationalities. The EOM assessed the framework for elections and the conduct of election day for compliance with domestic law and international standards for elections.

Election Observer Mission reports

(From top left clockwise) Martyn Perkins MHK, Isle of Man, Short Term Observer; Harald Jepsen, Denmark, Political/Campaign Analyst; Hon Julian Robinson MP, Jamaica, Head of Mission; Anne Marlborough, Ireland, Election/Legal Analyst; Aurjul Wilson, Anguilla, Short Term Observer; Mariam El-Azm, France, Senior EOM Coordinator; Felicity Newall, UK, EOM Administrator.

• Voting and counting took place in an orderly, well organised and transparent manner. The observers found that voting was good and very good in all polling stations observed across the island and assessed the counting and results process in extremely positive terms. The transparency of the count went far beyond legal requirements. This instilled great confidence in the accuracy of the reported results.

• The number of voters registered for the election was 3,858. Turnout was 62.5 percent, indicating that Montserratians went to the polls in significant number, giving a strong mandate to their new Legislative Assembly and Government.

• The Electoral Commission (EC) enjoyed the trust of both the public and the political parties, with confidence expressed both in its impartiality and ability to conduct the elections correctly.

• Voters could cast up to nine votes on a single ballot paper in a single constituency. The members of the Legislative Assembly represent all of the people, without responsibilities linked to specific areas. Elections are conducted under a first-past-the-post system, by means of a simple majority of the votes cast.

• The legal framework provides a basis for the conduct of elections in line with applicable human rights standards. There is explicit protection for the right to form, or to belong to, a political party. The right to vote is of generous application, extending to Commonwealth citizens who satisfy residency requirements, as well as to Montserratian citizens.

• The protection of the right to stand for election is not in full compliance with international law. A distinction is made between Montserratians by birth and those who have acquired nationality by naturalisation. This amounts to discrimination, which appears unreasonable.

• The Elections Act provides for the printing of a serial number on both the ballot paper and the counterfoil. The voter’s registration number is also written on the counterfoil by the presiding officer, making each ballot paper potentially traceable. This violates the secrecy of voting.

• Candidate registration was inclusive and offered Montserratian voters a genuine choice among political alternatives. The election was contested by a record-high number of 35 candidates, including eight women. Political parties could take more measures to foster greater participation of women; only three of the 24 party nominated candidates were women. Regrettably, just one woman was elected, representing eleven percent of the Legislative Assembly.

• The campaign was vibrant, orderly and highly competitive. Fundamental freedoms were respected. Contestants used a broad variety of campaign means including traditional and online media to pass messages to voters. Women were visible and active both as candidates and voters in campaign events.

• Public Radio Montserrat allocated editorial coverage to all contestants and offered paid airtime. The Youth Parliament of Montserrat organised public debates on substantive political issues. These efforts contributed to a level playing field, despite the lack of legal guidelines for the media campaign.

• The absence of political finance and disclosure legislation limited the information available to voters about the donations and campaign expenditure.

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l-r:Harald Jepsen, Political/Campaign analyst; Hon Julian Robinson MP Jamaica, Head of Mission; Anne Marlborough, Ireland, Election/Legal Analyst; speak with the press at their first press conference

An international Election Observer Mission (British Islands and Mediterranean Region) BIMR Election Observation Mission visited Montserrat between 11 and 20 November, 2019. The Mission comprised seven members of five different nationalities. It assessed the framework for elections and the conduct of election day for compliance with domestic law and international standards for elections.

Right after voting closed, head of the International Election Mission Julian Robinson MP from Jamaica said that his team visited all of the polling stations throughout the day. He said the process was smooth and the staff was very well trained. Robinson called it one of the smoothest elections he had ever seen.

He and his team released their preliminary findings on the election observation on Wednesday morning to the press at the DMCA where they had set up their office.

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After an opening press conference on the previous week Wednesday, they confirmed and added to their brief initial report of Monday evening and more ending with recommendations.

The Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Montserrat took place between 11 and 20 November 2019 and comprised seven members of five different nationalities. The EOM assessed the framework for elections and the conduct of election day for compliance with domestic law and international standards for elections.

Election Observer Mission reports

(From top left clockwise) Martyn Perkins MHK, Isle of Man, Short Term Observer; Harald Jepsen, Denmark, Political/Campaign Analyst; Hon Julian Robinson MP, Jamaica, Head of Mission; Anne Marlborough, Ireland, Election/Legal Analyst; Aurjul Wilson, Anguilla, Short Term Observer; Mariam El-Azm, France, Senior EOM Coordinator; Felicity Newall, UK, EOM Administrator.

• Voting and counting took place in an orderly, well organised and transparent manner. The observers found that voting was good and very good in all polling stations observed across the island and assessed the counting and results process in extremely positive terms. The transparency of the count went far beyond legal requirements. This instilled great confidence in the accuracy of the reported results.

• The number of voters registered for the election was 3,858. Turnout was 62.5 percent, indicating that Montserratians went to the polls in significant number, giving a strong mandate to their new Legislative Assembly and Government.

• The Electoral Commission (EC) enjoyed the trust of both the public and the political parties, with confidence expressed both in its impartiality and ability to conduct the elections correctly.

• Voters could cast up to nine votes on a single ballot paper in a single constituency. The members of the Legislative Assembly represent all of the people, without responsibilities linked to specific areas. Elections are conducted under a first-past-the-post system, by means of a simple majority of the votes cast.

• The legal framework provides a basis for the conduct of elections in line with applicable human rights standards. There is explicit protection for the right to form, or to belong to, a political party. The right to vote is of generous application, extending to Commonwealth citizens who satisfy residency requirements, as well as to Montserratian citizens.

• The protection of the right to stand for election is not in full compliance with international law. A distinction is made between Montserratians by birth and those who have acquired nationality by naturalisation. This amounts to discrimination, which appears unreasonable.

• The Elections Act provides for the printing of a serial number on both the ballot paper and the counterfoil. The voter’s registration number is also written on the counterfoil by the presiding officer, making each ballot paper potentially traceable. This violates the secrecy of voting.

• Candidate registration was inclusive and offered Montserratian voters a genuine choice among political alternatives. The election was contested by a record-high number of 35 candidates, including eight women. Political parties could take more measures to foster greater participation of women; only three of the 24 party nominated candidates were women. Regrettably, just one woman was elected, representing eleven percent of the Legislative Assembly.

• The campaign was vibrant, orderly and highly competitive. Fundamental freedoms were respected. Contestants used a broad variety of campaign means including traditional and online media to pass messages to voters. Women were visible and active both as candidates and voters in campaign events.

• Public Radio Montserrat allocated editorial coverage to all contestants and offered paid airtime. The Youth Parliament of Montserrat organised public debates on substantive political issues. These efforts contributed to a level playing field, despite the lack of legal guidelines for the media campaign.

• The absence of political finance and disclosure legislation limited the information available to voters about the donations and campaign expenditure.