PRELIMINARY STATEMENT BY LCN ON THE NATIONAL BY-ELECTIONS
 
 
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The Lesotho Council of NGOs took part in the observation of the National by-elections held in the Hololo, Mpharane and Sebapala constituencies on the 22nd May 2010. LCN had sent a delegation of about 17 people, with atleast 5 people in each constituency. This preliminary statement therefore focuses only on the observation done on the actual polling day.

LCN therefore makes the following pronouncement:
  1. Most polling stations opened relatively on time with the necessary election materials available.
  2. Party agents as well as other observers apart from LCN were present at the polling stations to witness the process of voting and all were allowed to occupy their space accordingly.
  3. The voting process itself took place in a peaceful environment, with the voting procedures being fairly observed.
  4. The process of counting of the ballots also happened in a transparent manner in the presence of the stakeholders.
  5. On the overall therefore, it can be said that the voting happened freely and fairly.
  6. Polling Stations were not far apart from each other which allowed voters not to travel long distances in view of the terrain of the rural part of the country. A fact that did not stretch both the elderly and disabled.

    However:
     
  7.  While no serious problems were encountered on the polling day, it was observed across the board that IEC personnel present at the polling stations had not received adequate training and as a result some delays were caused, particularly during the counting stage and this became a concern to all the stakeholders present.
     
  8. Voter turnout was generally unsatisfactory in comparison with those who had initially registered to vote.
     
  9. Voter material for people with disability was quiet sporadic. Thus only a minimal number of polling stations had some of the materials while a considerable number lacked these materials.
     
  10. Some of the polling stations were not accessible to the very people with disability.

LCN will therefore engage IEC further in the extensive and indepth report that the Council will furnish to the Commission in due course. This report will be made accessible once its published.

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