Brussels, 26 July 2005 - An EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the 18 September parliamentary elections has now been deployed to Afghanistan. Working under the leadership of Ms. Emma Bonino, Member of the European Parliament and its Committee on Foreign Affairs, the EOM is a further contribution by the European Commission to promote peace and democratisation in Afghanistan.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, stated: "It is my priority to support democracy and stability in Afghanistan. The preparations for the elections are well advanced and I am delighted that Emma Bonino and her team have arrived in good time to accompany the process. The situation is still fragile and all steps are accompanied by high security measures. I believe it is therefore even more important that our EOM will increase transparency and confidence in the whole election process."
Election Observation Missions are an important instrument for building confidence in the democratic process of a country. Through their presence and reporting, the observers of an EOM increase the transparency of the electoral process. The European Commission is deploying a team of 13 experts to Afghanistan but as elections approach it will expand the team to include long- and short-term observers. In total the mission should comprise 100 or more individuals.
The core team is currently launching its observation activities and will prepare the deployment of long-term observers to arrive during August to the provinces in order to follow the campaign and pre-election preparations. Short-term observers will be deployed just before election day to observe voting, counting and the tabulation of results. Deployment of all mission staff in Afghanistan will be subject to a careful and continuing security assessment.
The mission will assess the election process including the post-election period. The EOM will issue a preliminary statement shortly after the elections and later a final report detailing the findings of the mission and offering recommendations on steps to be taken towards wider democratisation and possible improvement of the process.
In addition to committing €4 million for running of the EOM, the European Union is providing a contribution of €8.5 million towards the cost of organising these elections, as well as €3 million for the institutional development of the Afghan parliament. These represent elements of a larger €1 billion EU package over 5 years supporting the reconstruction of the country.
For additional information see:
EU Election Assistance & Observation: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/human_rights/eu_election_ass_observ/index.htm
European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/eidhr/index_en.htm
The EU's relations with Afghanistan: http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/external_relations/afghanistan/intro/index.htm