SURINAME-ELECTIONS-CARICOM Observer team pleased with voting in Suriname.


The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Election Observer Mission says it has not 'seen any evidence of fraud' during Monday's general elections in Suriname, where the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) of President Desi Bouterse appears to have lost its majority in the National Assembly.

Preliminary figures from Monday's general election, show that the NDP, which had won 27 seats in 2015 to form the government, has so far won 15 seats.

'We have not seen any evidence of fraudulent acts, but we have seen that the elections are well organized and transparent,' said Dora James, the Supervisor of Elections of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who is heading a four-member CARICOM team.

She told a news conference that a distinction should be made between 'human error and fraud' and that the team had been to 120 polling stations in four constituencies.

She acknowledge that there had been minor irregularities on Monday such as wrong ballots in the wrong place or people not on the electoral roll, but insisted that should not be labelled as fraud.

She dismissed as 'just a rumour' reports that Haitian nationals had been brought to a particular polling station to vote.

'We are amazed at how people have behaved. This is unique. The atmosphere was friendly and free. For us, the elections looked like a big colourful social party. This is unprecedented,' she told reporters.

The CARICOM Observers Mission said that although more could possibly have been done to keep the distance of one and a half meters in keeping with the measures outlined for dealing with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID0-19), the authorities had done much to ensure voters were well protected.

James, said her colleagues -Ian Hugher, Arley Salimbi Gill and Davis Commissiong - spoke to political parties, civil society organizations, churches and representatives of domestic communities before the elections. She said nearly all had expressed concerns about fraud during the elections.

'We heard them and assured us that we will keep a close eye on everything and we did. In the preliminary phase, eight districts were also visited to talk to citizens. On the day of the vote, we looked at all possible ways could be cheated, but nothing was found. The ballot went smoothly.

'We can safely say that - where we have observed - no irregularities have been found and that Suriname has done extremely well. We hope that the results of these elections will be translated into the will of the people,' said...

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