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Source: European Union (EU)
21 December 2005

European Union - Election Observation Mission
West Bank and Gaza 2006

EUEOMWBG - Media Center - 12/21/2005

European Union launches 172-strong Election Observation Mission for the 2006 parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip

Ramallah, 20 December 2005 -- The European Union has begun to deploy one of its largest Election Observation Missions (EUEOM) for the parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza scheduled for 25 January 2006.
The mission is headed by a Chief Observer, Ms. Veronique de Keyser, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP). Ms. De Keyser is from Belgium and sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament.

Ms de Keyser will hold a  Press Conference at the Best Eastern Hotel in Ramallah on Wednesday 21 December 2005 at 11:00 am.
The EU was invited by the Palestinian Central Election Commission to observe the election. The EUEOM was established in Ramallah on 12 December 2005 with the arrival of a 14-member core team of election experts.
The EUEOM will include 32 long-term observers (LTOs) who will arrive on 29 December, as well as short-term observers (STOs) scheduled to be deployed a few days before the elections. The European Parliament will also be sending a delegation closer to the election date.
The EUEOM is working independently to fulfil its mandate to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the electoral process and to offer an impartial, balanced and informed assessment of the elections. EU observers will cover all 16 electoral districts in the West Bank and Gaza. This observation work is an important component of the EU’s policy of promoting human rights and democratisation throughout the world.
The EUEOM will observe the entire election process including the legal framework and its implementation, the work of the election administration, campaign activities, the conduct of the media, voting, ballot counting and tabulation, as well as the general environment in which the election is being conducted.

The Chief Observer, Ms de Keyser, who arrived on Sunday, is to hold a series of meetings with various officials, political parties, candidates civil society representatives and the media.  “It is important that the Palestinian candidates and voters exercise their democratic rights fully and freely” Ms. De Keyser stated on her arrival.

“The holding of parliamentary elections and its complexities will pose a number of challenges and it is important that they build upon the experience of the previous presidential election in 2005. It is hoped that the presence of EU observers will contribute to the integrity and credibility of the election
, create a constructive atmosphere and inspire the confidence of stakeholders in the election process” she added.

The EU observed the presidential election in January 2005, issuing a final report with a number of recommendations:

These recommendations included: that all electoral arrangements are finalised in goodtime; reasonable electoral conditions be provided for candidates and voters in East Jerusalem; the independence and integrity of electoral officials is guaranteed; the use of the civil registry to allow voting be stopped; the freedom of movement and assembly be enjoyed by candidates and others; all candidates must enjoy equal conditions, including access to the media; an understanding that government resources should not be utilised to the benefit of any one candidate; and greater transparency in the publication of election results.

Shortly after election day, the EUEOM will issue its preliminary findings. A more comprehensive final report will be issued subsequently.


For further information contact Mathias Eick, EUEOM Press Officer on:

Tel.: +972-(0)-54-6979287

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