The European Union Election Observation Mission for the Presidential elections in West Bank and Gaza has begun work. In total, the EU is deploying more than 260 observers. This includes the EU Election Observation Mission with a core team of 13 staff, which arrived in the West Bank and Gaza this week, some 40 long-term observers, arriving around 15 December, and more than 130 short-term observers, arriving in early January. The total also comprises an observation delegation from the European Parliament made up of 30 Members of Parliament plus 16 assistants, and contributions from the governments of Switzerland, Norway and Canada.
The EU Election Observation Mission’s Chief Observer, Mr. Michel Rocard, Member of the European Parliament, has started a round of meetings with relevant interlocutors in the West Bank and Israel. The presence of the EOM and the reporting of its observers will help to increase transparency and provide an independent and impartial assessment of the election process.
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: “Our Election Observation Mission is an important contribution to ensuring that the forthcoming Palestinian Presidential elections are assessed against international standards. The quality of these elections will have a direct bearing on the authority of the winner. The Palestinians need leaders with the legitimacy that only credible democratic elections can bring”.
In line with the principles of the Quartet Roadmap, the European Commission has been in the lead in the international community in providing support to the Palestinian electoral process since 2003. The overall objective is to give the Palestinian society a chance to hold meaningful and credible elections to provide democratic legitimacy for the institutions on the road to statehood. Some €14 million have been allocated since 2003 to prepare the elections. Of this, €2.5 million has been designated for the EU Election Observation Mission announced today.
In addition to deployment of an Election Observation Mission, the core elements of EU support are financial assistance to election operations to be carried out by the Palestinian Central Election Commission, including voter registration, support for polling and counting activities, and voter information. In delivering this, the EU has worked closely with other partners in the international community.