The Pacific Islands Forum Election Observer Team to the 2018 French Polynesia Legislative Assembly Elections has concluded its mission in French Polynesia.
In the course of its mission, the Forum met with a wide range of stakeholders representative of communities in French Polynesia. This included representatives from the State and Government, political parties, civil society, private sector, media, and faith based organisations.
The Forum team was appreciative of the warm welcome they received and the willingness of people to meet with them. “We thank everyone who received us for taking time to meet with us and share their views on the elections” said Deputy Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Republic of Marshall Islands and Team Leader, Mr Daniel Andrew. “Democracy is about ensuring governments reflect the will of the people, so it is important for any election observer mission to hear the views of the people.”
Ms Jacinta Tony-Barrion, team member and First Secretary with the Papua New Guinea High Commission to Fiji, also expressed appreciation for the wide range of views shared, saying “we had very good and informative meetings and were fortunate to hear the perspective of different stakeholders on elections and government in French Polynesia.”
The consultations covered the enabling environment in which elections are held, including the electoral framework, as well as the processes for the conduct of elections.
On polling day, 6 May 2018, the Forum mission travelled around the islands of Tahiti and Moorea, and observed the opening of polls, polling, closing and the counting of votes. Team members commended the efficient manner in which elections were conducted in all stations visited.
“The set up in all polling stations was well planned and facilitated the efficient and steady flow of voters through polling stations,” said Mr Daniel. “We were also pleased to see the support facilities provided for elderly voters and voters living with disabilities.”
The Forum team observed that the elections were peaceful, and although there were many different party supporters in the vicinity of polling stations, the atmosphere was convivial. The team congratulates the government on the successful conduct of elections which enabled French Polynesians to freely exercise their right to vote.
A detailed report on the election will be prepared by the team and submitted to the Government of French Polynesia.
Under the Framework for Pacific Regionalism, the Pacific Islands Forum is committed to promoting and upholding the principles of good governance across its membership. Forum Election Observer Missions are a cornerstone of this work.
The first Forum electoral mission was deployed to Solomon Islands in 2001 and since then there have been more than 20 has across the region.
Our teams only observe at the invitation of the host country. Invitations are processed by the host country through its internal systems and relevant mandated institution.
The main purpose of Forum electoral missions is to observe the integrity of the electoral process – ensuring that it complies with the host country’s regulatory framework. Forum Missions are independent and impartial, consistent with the Forum’s commitments under the Biketawa Declaration and the United Nations Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation & Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.
The Observer teams comprise electoral and governance experts from across the region with support from the Forum Secretariat. Beyond their work of contributing to the transparency of electoral processes, the missions also facilitate capacity building and knowledge sharing between, election management bodies within the Forum.
Forum Election Observer Teams seek to meet with as wide a range of stakeholders as possible to ensure a well-rounded picture of the electoral environment before, during and after the poll – this includes representatives of the government, outgoing legislative assembly, political parties, civil society, and faith based organisations.
Following the election, the Observer Teams’ report is produced and finalised by the Team, and reflect the Team’s findings and observations for that election. The reports are presented to the host government for their information and later made public via the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat website.