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Former Benin Republic President leads Ecowas poll observers to Senegal

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The former President of Benin Republic, Yayi Boni, has been appointed to lead the Economic Community of West African States electoral observation mission for the presidential election in Senegal.

The election is scheduled for Thursday, 24 February 2019.

The decision to appoint Boni was taken on Monday, 4 February 2019 after the meeting between the long-term observer groups deployed by the ECOWAS Commission and the National Autonomous Electoral Commission (CENA) of Senegal, the bloc’s Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, General Françis Awagbè Behanzin revealed.

A statement quoted Behanzin as saying the working session consisted in establishing “contact by informing CENA of the presence of ECOWAS observers on Senegalese territory on the one hand, but also to deliver the message of support and encouragement from ECOWAS for the proper organisation of electoral operations in Senegal”.

The ECOWAS observation mission is composed of political analysts, conflict prevention experts, lawyers, media and gender experts.

Their mission is to monitor the electoral process in all regions of the country, including the deployment of election materials on the ground, the campaign, the election itself, and the announcement of the results.

According to Commissioner Behanzin, “the mission of this first wave of electoral observers deployed for a period of one month in Senegal is in line with the provisions of the additional protocol adopted by the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government to support the governance of member states”.

The President of CENA Doudou Ndir reassured ECOWAS observers about the measures taken to ensure a peaceful conduct of the presidential election.

These include the ongoing awareness-raising campaign to encourage Senegalese people to adopt peaceful behaviour, as well as messages calling on political actors to avoid references that could be interpreted as incitement to violence.

This is the third mission that ECOWAS is deploying in Senegal.

In 2018, there was a first mission led by the President of Mali’s electoral commission CENI with the objective of making a pre-electoral assessment.

The second pre-electoral mission, led by Jean Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, was jointly led in January 2019 by ECOWAS and UNOWAS (United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel).

A total of 6,683,043 voters, including 309,592 from abroad, are registered to vote in the presidential election.

Five candidates, including incumbent Macky Sall, are running for the presidency.

The electoral campaign started on Friday, 1 February 2019.

– APA

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