Parliaments and Elections
This Programme which includes Election Observation, seeks to bring sustained democratic elections discourse and electoral reform agenda in SADC by providing benchmarks/norms and standards for elections in order to strengthen electoral institutions, reforming of outdated electoral legal frameworks which are not consistent with good practices, as well as to entrench the democratic process in the conduct of elections. The Forum also trains Parliamentarians and Parliamentary staff on Electoral Systems, Elections Management, Election Observation, Electoral Reforms and Post-Election Follow-ups for purposes of entrenching the gains made and changing undesirable and undemocratic practices. The ultimate goal of this Programme is to minimise disputes over the outcome of elections among contesting political parties, thereby contributing to peace and political stability in the SADC Region.
SADC PF has been observing elections in the Region since 1999 and as at September 2011 it had observed 26 elections. The Forum is recognised among international observers because of its professionalism. The role of SADC-PF in the field of election observation and setting of standards has been widely recognised both regionally and internationally. In fact, the Forum was the first institution to come up with a regional instrument for democratic elections when it adopted the Norms and Standard for Election in the SADC Region in March 2001. The Forum has also developed Training Manuals for Election Observation. At the international level, SADC PF was one of only three African institutions that participated in the development of the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct for International Observers under the auspices of the United National Electoral Assistance Division (UNEAD) and is a signatory to these instruments.