October 16, 2004

EU announces observer mission for elections

The European Union has announced that it intended to send an electoral observation mission to Mozambique, headed by a Spanish member of the European parliament, Jose Javier Pomes Ruiz, to observe the 1-2 December presidential and parliamentary elections. According to the European Commission's office in Maputo, the EU mission would include about 90 members - including some invited from two non-EU countries, Switzerland and Norway.
But the dispute between the EU and Mozambique's National Elections Commission (CNE) over precisely what stages of the election could be observed has not yet been resolved. The EU wants access for observers to all stages of the count - not only the primary count at the polling stations, but also vote tabulation at provincial and national levels. Yet the CNE wants to ban observers from the meetings where the vote tabulation is undertaken. Although President Joaquim Chissano himself has urged that the EU's request be accommodated, so far the CNE has not shifted from its intransigent position. "The objective of the observer mission", the EU statement said, "is to strengthen transparency and confidence in the elections through the presence, findings and analyses of international observers". That was why the EU was urging the CNE "to give the observers access to all relevant stages of the election, including all levels of the count".
The budget for this observer mission is 2.24 million Euros made available from the European Commission's Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights. (Agencia de Informaçao de Moçambique, Maputo)

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