EU deploys 44 observers ahead of polls

EU deploys 44 observers ahead of polls
Published: 25 June 2018
The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Zimbabwe deployed 44 long-term observers throughout the country ahead of the harmonised elections on July 30 over the weekend.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Mrs Federica Mogherini also appointed Mr Elmar Brok, member of the European Parliament as chief observer of the EU EOM to Zimbabwe.

In a statement, Mrs Mogherini said the Zimbabwean elections were key for the future of Zimbabwe.

She said the future President, Parliament and local Government councils would have the responsibility of steering the transition process in the country.

"Zimbabweans can count on the strong support of the European Union and of the international community. Its stability and economic growth are key for the entire region and for the European Union as well. I am confident that the mission under the leadership of chief observer Mr Brok will make an important contribution to this electoral process," she said.

Mr Brok said the elections, to be held under a new electoral framework, represented an important step in the country's political transition.

"The 2018 elections are an opportunity to strengthen Zimbabwe's democracy and it is important they are peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible. The EU EOM is here to observe in an impartial and professional manner and I am confident that this mission can make an important contribution to enhancing further the quality of the electoral process," he said.

The EU said the 44 observers' team was the second contingent, following the core team consisting of 10 analysts which arrived in Harare early this month.

The team will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process and then prepare a comprehensive final report.

Together with diplomats accredited in Harare the EU EOM is expected to deploy on Election Day about 140 observers from all 28 member states as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada.

A further 44 short-term observers will be deployed a few days prior to election day.

A delegation of the European Parliament and diplomats from EU Member States accredited to Zimbabwe will also reinforce the Mission on election day.

In a separate statement, EU deputy chief observer Mr Mark Stevens said the long term observers would cover all 10 provinces in both urban and rural areas.

"They will observe the entire electoral process prior, during and after the harmonised elections. The observers will be meeting electoral officials, candidates and representatives from political parties, civil society and the media.

Mr Stevens said the EU EOM conducts a comprehensive analysis of the electoral process based on a methodology developed by the EU over many years.

"The EU EOM is impartial and does not interfere in the electoral process. The analysis includes aspects such as the legal framework, the work of the election administration, the campaign activities of the candidates and political parties, the conduct of the media, the voting, counting and the tabulation of results, the resolution of election related disputes," he said.

Meanwhile, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Friday deployed 14 election long-term observers as part of their joint Zimbabwe international electoral observation mission.

In a statement, the IRI-NDI mission said the deployment will cover all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe in the period leading to the July 30, elections, on election day as well as in the post-election period.

IRI-NDI said the long term observers comprised election experts drawn from Africa, Europe, and North America.

"Elections are more than just voting on election day. It is critical that observers witness the campaign period and electoral preparations across the entire country," said Larry Garber, co-mission director.

The deployment of long-term observers follows the Mission's establishment of a core team of analysts based in Harare starting in April.

It said throughout the observation process, the mission will coordinate with other observer delegations, including domestic monitoring groups.
- chronicle
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