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The European Commission will deploy in mid December an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, currently scheduled for 25 January 2006. The EU EOM, will assess whether the electoral process is conducted in accordance with international standards. The Commission welcomes the holding of these elections as a further step in democracy building within the Palestinian Territories. The EOM will be led by Véronique de Keyser, Member of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee and the EP Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries.
Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, stated: “Free and fair elections are essential steps on the way to a viable Palestinian State as foreseen in the Road Map. Impartial observation can help create confidence in the democratic process and highlight areas where further improvements are necessary. By working with the Palestinians in this way, the EU is helping to lay the foundations for a modern accountable administration and a more peaceful future for the Palestinian people”.
In total, the European Commission plans to deploy some 172 observers: a core team of 12 observers, 32 Long Term observers, both groups to be deployed in December, and 128 short-term observers, who will arrive closer to the election day to observe polling and counting.
The mission will assess the whole election process, including the legal framework, the political environment and campaign, electoral preparations, voting and counting as well as the post-election period. The mission will issue a preliminary statement shortly after election day.
The overall objective is to give the Palestinian society a chance to hold meaningful and credible elections, to provide democratic legitimacy to the Palestinian Parliament on the road to statehood.
In line with the Quartet Roadmap objective of the establishment of an independent and democratic Palestinian state living in peace with Israel, the European Commission has been at the forefront of the international community’s efforts to support the Palestinian electoral process.
Some €17 million have been allocated since 2003 to prepare the elections. Of these, €3 million are destined for the EU Election Observation Mission announced today. This is one element in the €200-300 million a year made available from the EU Community Budget for the Palestinian people.
In addition to the deployment of the Election Observation Mission, the core elements of EU support to the Palestinian democratic process have been financial assistance to election operations carried out by the Palestinian Central Election Commission, voter registration, support for polling and counting activities, voter information and activities carried out by NGOs. In delivering this support, the EU works closely with other partners in the international community.
The EU deployed its largest ever observation mission to cover the Palestinian Presidential elections last January.
For additional information, see also:
EU Election Assistance & Observation:
European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights: