The Commonwealth Secretariat announced Friday that former Seychelles President Danny Faure will lead a six-member team of Commonwealth election observers to Antigua and Barbuda for the Jan. 18 general election.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, KC, announced the composition of the Commonwealth Observation Group in response to an invitation from the Antigua and Barbuda government.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne is leading his ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) into the elections, having won 15 of the 17 seats in the March 21, 2018 election. The other two seats were won by the main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) the Barbuda-based Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) winning the other two seats.

“I thank Danny Faure for accepting my invitation to lead this group and each of the Commonwealth observers for agreeing to undertake this important assignment,” Scotland said in a statement. “The group, which is independent and impartial, will assess the overall conduct of the election and, at the end, make recommendations that will contribute towards strengthening the electoral process in Antigua and Barbuda.”

The Commonwealth Secretariat said that the group’s mandate is to observe the preparations for the election, the polling, counting, tabulation procedures and the overall electoral environment as well as consider any factors that could impinge upon the credibility of the process as a whole.

Prior to deployment, the group will also have briefings with the country’s political party representatives, police officers and several stakeholders, including officials from the Electoral Commission, the media and social society groups representing women, youth and people with disabilities.

The group will submit its recommendations in a report to the Commonwealth Secretary-General, who will forward it to Antigua and Barbuda, the country’s Electoral Commission, the leadership of political parties taking part in the elections and all Commonwealth governments.

The Commonwealth Observer team is due to arrive in Antigua on Jan. 14.

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