Brussels, 14 June 2005 - The European
Commission has deployed an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the
legislative elections in Burundi scheduled to take place on 4 July 2005.
The elections are a milestone in Burundi's search for lasting peace and
democracy. The EU EOM is led by Alain Hutchinson, Member of the European
Parliament. The EOM is a further contribution by the European Commission
to supporting peace and democratisation in Burundi.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, said: "The forthcoming legislative elections mark the end of a long and difficult transition process and offer the chance for reconciliation between the people of Burundi and the establishment of a stable democratic political system. I have therefore decided to deploy an Election Observation Mission to assess whether the elections are conducted in a transparent and genuinely democratic manner in accordance with international standards for democratic elections. I trust that through its long-term presence across the country the mission will help to strengthen public confidence in this important process."
The legislative elections on 4 July 2005 are the most important of a series of elections that began with a constitutional referendum on 28 February and continued with commune elections on 3 June. The subsequent, indirect, presidential election on 19 August 2005 will mark the end of the transition period agreed by political parties following the signature of the Arusha peace agreement in August 2000.
A core team of eight election experts, headed by Alain Hutchinson MEP, will arrive in Bujumbura this week, to be joined by 10 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country to follow the campaign period and pre-election preparations. A total of 60 short-term observers will arrive just before election day to observe voting, counting and the tabulation of results. The election will be assessed against international standards outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
In addition to committing up to €1.5 million costs for the EU EOM from the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), a contribution of €4.4 million has been provided by the European Development Fund (EDF) towards the cost of organising these elections.
EU aid to Burundi
Apart from the support to the elections via the EIDHR, the EU has allocated to Burundi more than €176 million for development cooperation through the 9th EDF,
For additional information, see also:
EU Election Assistance & Observation:
European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights: