By Laperozy Eric, He Xianfeng
ANTANANARIVO, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- International observers hailed on Sunday the first round of Madagascar's presidential election as "transparent and peaceful."
Speaking at a press conference, Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator Joachim Chissano commended the remarkable work done by the Independent National Election Commission (CENIT) in organizing the election and the peaceful conduction of the election by the voters.
Maria Muniz de Urquiza, head of the European Union observers, also congratulated the Malagasy people on a peaceful election.
Mme Louise Frechette, leader of observers from the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF), said that the polls were held with serenity, transparency and high participation of voters.
"The AU electoral observation mission expresses its satisfaction to the CENIT for the smooth conduct of electoral operations. It congratulates the Malagasy people, the armed forces, political parties and candidates who have all demonstrated a civic spirit and responsibility by refraining from any act of violence before and during the election of Oct. 25," said Issaga Kampo, head of the African Union observers.
Some observers also pointed out the problems that occurred in the first round of the presidential election.
In many polling stations, voters complained of not having found their names on the electoral rolls and were therefore unable to vote, Kampo said.
In other more limited cases, voters who were registered could not vote because they did not have their identity cards, Kampo added.
Former president of Mauritius Cassam Uteem, who led observers from the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA), asked Madagascar's Internal Ministry to continue the distribution of identity cards to citizens so as to enable them to enroll in the voter list.
The EISA asked the CENIT to secure the polling stations during the counting and to give special training to electoral officials on the coupling of legislative elections with a second round of presidential election on Dec. 20, said Uteem.
Nearly 5,000 national observers and 800 international observers were involved in the electoral process in Madagascar.