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Source: European Union (EU)
10 May 2005

IP/05/550 - 10th May, 2004
European Union deploys Election Observation Mission to Lebanon for the upcoming Parliamentary Elections

Following an agreement with the Government of the Republic of Lebanon, the European Commission will deploy next week an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the Parliamentary elections in Lebanon, currently scheduled to be held on four days: 29 May, 5, 12, 19 June. The Commission welcomes the prospect of holding genuinely democratic Parliamentary elections, which are a means to reaffirm full sovereignty in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1559. The EU EOM will be led by José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Member of the European Parliament, Member of the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs. The EOM is a further contribution by the European Commission to supporting democracy in the Middle East and Mediterranean region.

The Commissioner for External Relation and the European Neighbourhood, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, stated:

“Supporting moves towards democracy is one of my priorities in the region. I am delighted that there is now a chance for the Lebanese people to freely elect a Parliament that represents their aspirations. The EOM will build on our strong record of impartial observation, to build confidence in Lebanon’s election process. I have personally selected the European Parliament Member, José Ignacio Salafranca, as head of this mission.”

Through the Barcelona Process and the European Neighbourhood Policy, as well as the newly announced Democracy Facility for the Mediterranean region, the EU seeks to promote democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law. Election Observation Missions are an important instrument for building confidence in the democratic processes of a country.

Through their presence and reporting, the observers of an EOM increase the transparency of the electoral process. The European Union has gained a reputation as a major, professional actor in this field, with Missions that are rigorously impartial, and follow a standard methodology, based on non-interference and respect for the law of the land, maintaining a presence throughout the campaign and beyond election day.

In total, the European Commission plans to deploy some 90 observers: A core team of elections experts based in Beirut which will arrive shortly; 24 long-term observers to be deployed to the provinces in order to follow pre-electoral preparations, campaigning, voting and the post-election period, and 50 short-term observers arriving closer to the first election day, who will observe polling and counting on all four election days.

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 the elections, and later a final report detailing the findings of the mission and offering recommendations for possible improvement.

The funding decision represents a commitment of €1.9 Million from the European Commission’s European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.

The European Commission also supports Lebanese Non-Governmental organisations involved in domestic election observation, voter education and media training on elections.

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