EISA Niger: Support to the Electoral Commission

Main elements of support to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI; Commission Électorale Nationale Indepéndante) include:

  • Strengthening of operational planning.
  • Strengthening election operations and logistics.
  • Consolidation and dissemination of voting results.
  • Organizational and institutional development.
  • Post-elections review.

2021


Strategic reflection on the updating of the biometric voter list

As per electoral code provisions, the biometric voters' list must be updated annually between October to December 31. In this regard, this process is ongoing to fulfill this legal obligation. EISA is assisting CENI in developing strategies to better conduct this exercise. This will be the first update following the register used for the 2020-2021 elections.

Support for the preparation of by-elections of the 2020-2021 electoral process

Following the Conseil d'Etat decision (court in charge of complaints for local elections), local elections are expected in the three 3 local communes outlined in the overview. As per Article 161 of the Electoral Code, these elections must be organised within two months after the Conseil d'Etat notification to the Electoral Commission. Initially expected in May/June 2021, these l elections are now planned for August or September 2021. Of note is that due the Covid restrictions, CENI could not register, nor provide voting for Niger diaspora citizens for the National Assembly elections. The diaspora elections will be held before January 2022. These remaining votes are important to close the 2020 2021 electoral cycle as the legal framework requires that 5 of the 171 national assembly seats are reserved for the diaspora citizens.

EISA attends seminar on the management of Electoral Management Bodies

1 - 3 Jul 2021

EISA attended the international seminar organised by the CENI on sharing experiences on the management of a permanent independent national electoral commission held from 1 to 3 July 2021.

EISA assists in identifying experts

EISA assisted in identifying and facilitating the participation of electoral experts as well as the participation of the Chairperson of the West African EMBs, ie ECONEC.

Initiate the evaluation of institutional and organizational processes of the CENI and the CSC

Supposed to start at the launching of the project, the organisational and institutional development could not be done due to CENI's request to focus on the most priority activities related to organising the various elections. After the completion of these elections, the current post electoral period is appropriate to launch this activity. EISA has held discussions and meetings with CENI and CSC, as well as with the High Commission for State Modernization (HCME) responsible for the implementation of this exercise. EISA also finalised draft Terms of Reference and shared with the institutions to serve as the basis for discussion for their input and ensure their involvement. This organisational and institutional development will be a key element to enable the two institutions to accomplish their respective mission and reinforce their professionalism.

Support for the drafting of the report of the national electoral cycle assessment

In line with the workshop, EISA provided technical and financial support to the drafting committee set up by the CENI to agree on a methodology going forward. EISA has worked regularly with this committee to compile all relevant information. With completion of the draft report, a validation session will be held in the next reporting period, whereafter the report will be printed and disseminated. This report will add great value to the CENI in its operational planning and institutional reforms for the next electoral cycle.

Support to the national workshop to assess the 2017-2021 electoral cycle

1-3 Jun 2021

CENI organised a workshop to assess Niger's 2017-2021 electoral cycle. EISA took the lead in arranging the workshop which was held in collaboration with the Swiss Development Cooperation Programme for Democratic Governance (PAGOD) and provided technical and financial support. All the main national stakeholders in the electoral process, namely, political parties, national institutions such as the media regulator, the human rights commission, the anti-corruption commission, civil society organisations, national observer groups, electoral judges, ministers and traditional and religious leaders attended. Ten thematic areas were presented and considered by the more than than 160 participants, including 19 women.

The workshop provided for an opportunity to review and assess the challenges and successes of the 2020-2021 general elections, resulting in the formulation of 150 recommendations for electoral reforms, aimed at better conducting the post electoral period as well as the next electoral cycle. Dr Ali Diabacté, an EISA Board member, was invited by the CENI as a high-level electoral expert to participate in this workshop. EISA Niger is grateful for his contribution.

Logistics and operations

EISA assisted the CENI in developing logistical and operational plans. Two experts were engaged who developed the CENI's knowledge management process by providing technical support in the development of training tools such as manuals for electoral officials as well as a guide for national and international observers.

With this technical support, the packaging and deployment of all electoral materials and documents were conducted in time, including in areas where shortages had previously occurred during the 13 December 2020 elections.

Before the presidential run off and to fix some logistical problems, EISA proposed to it should provide technical and financial support for practical in situ training of electoral officials involved in the electoral logistics chain in Niamey. This workshop brought together about 150 participants including 43 women, and was attended by material handlers, security staff, assistant-logisticians, UN volunteer logisticians, CENI commissioners, and the CENI's technical and financial partners (such as UNDP).

EISA supported the CENI in developing an inventory of election material and in the planning of its transportation from polling stations to regional or Niamey warehouses.

Dispute resolution

At the request of CENI, and in order to enhance electoral dispute management, EISA supported the training of 40 judges and clerks of the Courts of First Instance on 17-18 October. On 19-20 October EISA Niger trained more than 325 presidents of the decentralised electoral commissions. These presidents will train presiding officers who, in turn, will train the electoral officials of their polling stations.

Production of electoral documents and handbooks

EISA Niger, alongside other international partners, contributed to the design and completion of a series of operational documents and terms of reference needed by the CENI. These included a collection of legislative and regulatory texts relating to elections in Niger, training tools for agents operating the logistics chain, practical methodology for the distribution of voter cards, forms at the municipalities level currently used for the distribution of voter cards, and a handbook for the monitoring of field missions for the distribution of voter cards and lists.

Training of electoral staff

EISA Niger provided technical and financial support for the training and briefing of more than 700 CENI electoral staff and polling agents in Niger's 8 regions using the train-the-trainer approach. These trainers in turn trained a total of 51,956 polling stations agents for the local elections of 13 December 2020, for the presidential and parliamentary elections of 27 December 2020, as well as the presidential run off on 21 February 2021. The objective of this support was to improve the operational management of the election process activities at each level and the workshops improved staff performance in running polling stations.

2020


Deployment of monitoring teams on election days

EISA assisted the CENI in the supervision of voting operations on the various election days. Four EISA staff members were deployed to visit various polling stations in the five municipalities of Niamey. This initiative was helpful, particularly in noting challenges such as the lack of electoral materials and documents in the polling stations or the absence of members of the polling stations. The findings and information gathered by EISA's supervision teams were relayed to the CENI who could immediately act on the information thereby avoiding potential problems or delays in voting.

Strategic proposals for the improvement of election operations

Following an internal evaluation by the CENI after the local elections held on 13 December 2020, EISA drafted and shared strategic proposals with the Electoral Commission to improve the organisation of the March 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections. The proposals pointed to the need to strengthen the communication, coordination, and teamwork between the CENI departments. It also suggested that CENI adopt a more inclusive approach by involving all staff in the operational and logistical activities, reactivate the supervision committee, and setup an Operations Coordination Centre. The CENI implemented these proposals and, consequently, an enhanced capacity for rapid responses to the challenges encountered in the field on elections day resulted.

Internal evaluation of the first round of election

EISA proposed and supported the CENI in conducting an internal evaluation after the local, parliamentary, and presidential elections held on 13 and 27 December 2020. The objective was to draw lessons from the three elections and identify necessary actions to take for a better preparation of the presidential election runoff in February 2021. This approach contributed to a systematic replacement of ineffective heads of lower level electoral commissions, and to the extension of training for polling station officials from 1 to 2 days.

Capacity-building workshop for CENI members

EISA provided support to CENI for the organisation of a capacity building workshop for CENI members before the runoff presidential election. This assistance consisted of drafting the terms of references of the workshop and facilitating some of the sessions. The added value of the workshop was that it contributed to bringing together all the CENI Commissioners, including the new members, to strengthen their capacity iro their role and responsibilities, and to enhance the synergy between the commissioners and CENI departments.

Expertise and material provided for the transmission of results

EISA provided ongoing advice on strategies and best practice for election results reporting. EISA supplied 11 computers, 17 printers, 2 UPS and 50 modems to the CENI for the vote compilation and result transmission processes. The equipment enabled electoral staff to compile, consolidate, print, and disseminate the results in real-time, facilitating monitoring by voters, the public, political partis and candidates. The equipment also increased the speed at which CENI technicians were able to process results data.