Pretoria - The mutual trust between the Independent Electoral Commission and political parties in South Africa is commendable, an election observer from Mozambique said on Thursday.
"I am truly impressed by the trust between IEC and the political parties, I have not heard anything bad said by political parties about the IEC," said Artemis Franco from the National Electoral Commission of Mozambique.
"You don't find trust in Mozambique, political parties will blame the electoral commission."
South Africa's democracy seemed to be flourishing, said Franco, adding that civil society appeared to have "great faith" in the IEC to run its elections.
Her take on the 2011 local government elections was that it was "absolutely free and fair".
Franco and other observers had access to IEC processes on the ground at polling stations and witnessed "minor problems and glitches", but nothing the IEC did not move swiftly to resolve.
"The process was very transparent, it's an example for the region," she said, citing examples of turbulent elections held in other countries in southern Africa.
Franco, an attorney, returns to Mozambique on Sunday but regrets that her visit to South Africa was essentially a working one, with little time to explore.
Two diplomats from Portugal - ambassador Joao Ramos Pinto and the first secretary Pedro Severo de Almeida - compared South African elections to any other democratic election in the West and Europe.
Both said they were quite impressed after visiting half a dozen voting stations in Gauteng.
"We are very impressed with the good ambiance that we found. People were very happy. That is a very good sign I think that the process is running smoothly," said Pinto.
This was the first African elections he had observed.