Year 2011 Selected
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N°: 234/2011
22 November 2011 [Abuja - Nigeria]


	The ECOWAS Commission has informed the President of the Gambia about its 
decision not to dispatch an ECOWAS Observer Mission to the Presidential 
Election scheduled to take place in the country on 24 November 2011, because 
the preparations and political environment for the said election are adjudged 
by the Commission not to be conducive for the conduct of free, fair and 
transparent polls.
In keeping with the pertinent provisions of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol 
on Democracy and Good Governance, the President of the Commission dispatched a 
fact-finding mission to the Gambia, during which the mission interacted with a 
wide range of stakeholders to assess the state of preparedness of the country 
for the election. The Commission has also been conducting a regular monitoring 
of the political situation and preparations in the lead-up to the election 
through the ECOWAS Early Warning System.
Unfortunately, the reports of the fact-finding mission and the Early Warning 
System paint a picture of intimidation, an unacceptable level of control of 
the electronic media by the party in power, the lack of neutrality of state 
and para-statal institutions, and an opposition and electorate cowed by 
repression and intimidation. In the circumstance, the ECOWAS Commission is of 
the view that the conditions prevailing in the country do not meet the minimum 
standards set under the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance for the 
conduct of elections and has, therefore, decided to exercise the discretionary 
powers conferred on the Commission’s President under the Protocol to stand 
down the ECOWAS Observer Mission.
While regretting the decision forced upon it by the circumstances, the ECOWAS 
Commission will remain seized with the situation in the Gambia, and expresses 
its readiness to engage the Government and other stakeholders in the Gambian 
polity, with a view to accompanying them in their endeavour to create a level 
playing field for future elections.

His Excellency James Victor Gbeho
President of the Commission				

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