Commonwealth Election Reports

2310-1512 (online)
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Commonwealth Election Reports, the reports of Commonwealth Observer Groups, Missions or Expert Teams, are independently prepared by the team members as a contribution to the democracy and consensus-building in Commonwealth countries.


Presidential and National Assembly Elections in Zambia, 31 October 1991 You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Observer Group
01 Jan 1992
9781848595521 (PDF)

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These Election Reports are the observations, conclusions and recommendations of Commonwealth Observer Groups. The SecretaryGeneral constitutes these observer missions at the request of governments and with the agreement of all significant political parties. At the end of a mission, a report is submitted to the SecretaryGeneral, who makes it available to the government of the country in question, the political parties concerned and to all Commonwealth governments. The report eventually becomes a public document.

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  • Introduction

    Commonwealth Heads of Government have expressed their collective wish to assist member countries in strengthening their democratic processes and institutions, and the Commonwealth has given priority to providing this assistance whenever a request has been received from a member country. In particular, it has, within the past year, mounted election observer missions to Malaysia and Bangladesh. The Commonwealth has also been helping Mozambique with its preparations for multiparty elections under the auspices of the Mozambique Special Fund set up by Commonwealth Governments and is preparing to observe the general elections in Guyana.

  • Political Parties

    The decision by the Government of Zambia to restore multi-party democracy was a significant one. We considered that the Zambian experience might serve as a useful example for other countries, not only in the Commonwealth, but in the developing world generally.

  • The Electoral Administrative Framework

    The 1991 Constitution established an Electoral Commission of three members appointed by the President to supervise the registration of voters, the conduct of Presidential and Parliamentary elections, and the review and delimitation of constituencies. This was followed by the Electoral Act of 1991 which, among other provisions, vested in the Commission a degree of functional autonomy. The Commission promulgated regulations which provided for the procedure and manner of conducting elections.

  • Preparations for the Poll

    In preparing for the election, a number of steps were taken. The division of the country into 150 constituencies was confirmed, each of which would return a single member to the National Assembly. Procedures for nominations began to be put in place.

  • The Campaign

    When we arrived in Lusaka, election day was just a week away. We were aware that there had been predictions of violence and intimidation, and we expected that there would be the usual rumours and display of partisanship which characterise most election campaigns. But our immediate impressions were that this election campaign was being conducted in a relatively calm manner and the absence of excitable crowds, of any great numbers of party emblems, buntings, or photographs of candidates were most notable.

  • Was the Poll Properly Conducted?

    In considering whether the poll was properly conducted we focused on the following issues, namely: a) Independence of Electoral Commission; b) Professionalism of the election officers; c) Adequacy of the registration system; d) Events on polling day; e) Security of ballot papers and boxes; f) Conduct of the count.

  • Conclusion

    The Zambian multi-party elections were conducted in a calm and orderly manner and gave the people of Zambia the opportunity to vote for the Presidential and National Assembly candidates of their choice. The results should therefore fully reflect the will of the Zambian people. The entire election process has shown that there is a basis in Zambia for the development of multi-party democracy.

  • Acknowledgements and Annexes
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