OAS/EOM mission in Suriname encourages next phase of democratic process

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WASHINGTON, USA – The Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) of the Organization of American States (OAS) for the 2020 general elections in Suriname has observed the post-electoral process since the conclusion of the poll on May 25, more than one week ago.

Members of the Mission have been present at the ministry of home affairs, the main polling stations, the central polling station, and have observed the receipt and consolidation of the results. The Mission also noted the challenges occasioned by COVID-19, as the incidence of cases grew in the days following the elections – from one case on Election Day to 44 on June 2.

On Tuesday, June 2, the Mission held post-electoral discussions with the ministry of home affairs and the ministry of foreign affairs. The Mission thanks these authorities for their willingness to speak openly about the electoral process and to provide information and clarifications on the several issues raised by the team. The Mission will meet with the chair of the independent electoral council, virtually, on Friday, June 5.

As indicated in its May 31 statement, the Mission has noted that the unofficial preliminary count provided by the ministry of home affairs reached over 99 percent of the Statements of Poll on Friday, May 29, and has remained unchanged since then.

The Mission has no reason to believe that the official results will vary to any significant degree at this point. There are only three Statements of Poll currently outstanding and it is virtually impossible, that they will alter the results of these elections. It is therefore the position of the OAS Mission that the outcome of the elections is already clear to the people of Suriname.

The Mission is absolutely respectful of the steps prescribed by the electoral law, which are required to bring an official close to the process and formalize the results.

The rigorous nature of the consolidation and verification of the results of the elections provides for a high degree of precision, and this is a good thing. However, the Mission considers this must be balanced with the need of the citizenry for more timely results. Efforts to modernize and simplify the tabulation and consolidation process can assist in this regard.

Voters are the key stakeholders in a democracy. Their right to know the results of their collective will is and must continue to be a priority in this and future elections.

As previously mentioned, the Mission notes that no single political party achieved a two-thirds majority in the elections.

Among the six political parties winning seats in the National Assembly, efforts are now underway to develop post-electoral alliances. The Mission notes that four of those parties have already agreed to collaborate and to build a coalition. The Mission encourages these parties and the electoral authorities to move swiftly to the next phase of the democratic process.

Over 70 percent of voters turned out on Election Day. The enthusiasm and civic spirit demonstrated by the Surinamese people must be highly commended.

The Mission again takes the opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of all persons involved in the different phases of the process, to ensure that the will of the people of Suriname, as expressed at the ballot box, is heard and respected.

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