Niger: EU to observe the presidential and legislative elections

The Euro­pean Union is deploy­ing an Elec­tion Obser­va­tion Mis­sion (EU EOM) for the pres­i­den­tial and leg­isla­tive elec­tions in Niger, sched­uled to take place on 31 Jan­u­ary 2011.

The EU EOM is led by a Chief Observ­er, San­ti­a­go Fisas Ayx­ela, Mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. It will com­prise 38 observers who cur­rent­ly assess pre-elec­tion prepa­ra­tions and the elec­toral cam­paign. They will par­tic­u­lar­ly focus on vot­ing, count­ing and tab­u­la­tion of the results. The EU EOM will also stay for the post­elec­tion period.

A first team of experts arrived in the coun­try on 5 Jan­u­ary. These experts were joined by Long Term Observers (LTOs) on 17 January.

The Chief Observ­er will issue a pre­lim­i­nary state­ment after the polling day. After the com­ple­tion of the elec­toral sequence, he will even­tu­al­ly issue a com­pre­hen­sive assess­ment of the elec­toral process as well as a set of rec­om­men­da­tions for the ben­e­fit of Nige­rien authorities.

The EU EOM will be one of the largest inter­na­tion­al obser­va­tion groups in Niger for these elec­tions. The EU also con­tributed to the tech­ni­cal prepa­ra­tion of the elec­tions and pro­vid­ed finan­cial sup­port of around € 20 million.

Cather­ine Ash­ton, EU High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for For­eign Affairs and Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy and Vice-Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion, said:

“The forth­com­ing elec­tions are an essen­tial step in the tran­si­tion­al process towards democ­ra­cy in Niger. The EU has been strong­ly com­mit­ted to facil­i­tate Niger’s return to democ­ra­cy since 2009.

I have no doubt that the elec­toral envi­ron­ment will be con­ducive to peace­ful elec­tions and will not be ham­pered by recent dra­mat­ic events, and that Nige­rien vot­ers will be able to express them­selves in a serene atmosphere.

I also believe that the pres­ence of observers can con­tribute to build­ing con­fi­dence in these elections.

I want to stress that the EU EOM role is not to val­i­date can­di­da­cies and results but to assess the elec­tion process against inter­na­tion­al stan­dards for gen­uine and demo­c­ra­t­ic elections.” 

Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Union 

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