At the launching ceremony of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the forthcoming Presidential and Legislative Elections in Sierra Leone, head of the Mission Ms Marie Anne Isler Béguin stated that their mandate was to assess the election.
Speaking to media practitioners at the Bintumani Hotel auditorium in Freetown yesterday, Ms Béguin explained that the mission was established to deploy on July 5 and comprises a core team of seven experts and teams of long term and short term observers.
She maintained that the 28 long term observers will shortly be deployed throughout the country to observe key aspects of the election process, adding that a further deployment of 42 short term observers will join the core team and the long term observers for the period immediately prior to, and including, polling day to observe the voting and counting process.
Speaking about how they are going to proceed with their monitoring, the EU EOM head accentuated, “we are not here as politicians…we are not going to interfere in the electoral process [all we are going to do] is to analyse our observation and publish our findings.”
She said the mission’s mandate is to assess elections against international and regional standards for democratic elections.
“The EU will work independently to fulfil its mandate to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process and to offer an impartial, balanced and informed analysis of the elections,” she maintained.
Ms Béguin noted that the EU will observe the electoral process up to Election Day, and during the post election period, adding that shortly after the Election Day, the EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement of its initial finding at a press conference in Freetown, which will subsequently be followed by a more comprehensive report.
Ms Béguin explained that as head of the EU EOM, she will meet government and electoral officials, candidates and representatives of political parties, head of diplomatic delegations and representatives of international and Non Governmental Organisations throughout the country.
The Deputy EU EOM, Armin Rabitsch explained to Awoko “we are an independent entity from the European Union, we would submit our report to the EU research and it is left with politicians within the EU to decide.” He noted, “Our observation issue report comes up with recommendations concerning the electoral process to improve the electoral framework.”
“Our recommendations are absolutely technical,” he maintained.