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Source: European Union (EU)
23 May 2005

EU Election Observation Mission for Palestinian Legislative Council Elections

The European Commission will deploy in early June an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, currently scheduled for 17 July. The Commission welcomes the holding of these elections as a further step in democracy building within the Palestinian Authority. The EU EOM will be led by Véronique de Keyser, Member of the European Parliament, its Foreign Affairs Committee and its Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries.

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, stated:

 “Following credible Presidential elections in January, the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council offer the opportunity to complete the democratic transition at national level. The election process offers all players in Palestinian politics the possibility to pursue their aspirations through democratic means. I hope the EU mission, headed by Véronique de Keyser, will contribute to building confidence in the democratic process.”

In total, the European Commission plans to deploy a team of some 175 observers, which will be complemented by an observer delegation from the European Parliament and observers from other countries. Overall the mission should comprise more than 260 observers. A core team of 13 election experts based in Ramallah and Gaza will arrive in early June; 32 long-term observers will then be deployed to the regions in order to follow pre-electoral preparations, campaigning, voting and the post-election period; and 128 short-term observers will arrive closer to the election day to observe actual 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 institutions 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 are 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 has worked closely with other partners in the international community.

The EU deployed its largest ever observation mission to cover the Palestinian Presidential elections last January.

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