Tag Archives: elections

Congo future elections in EU focus

The Foreign Affairs Council will discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following up on the Council conclusions of 11 December 2017 and in view of the foreseen elections at the end of the year.

On 11 December the Foreign Affairs Council adopted conclusions on the Democratic Republic of the Congo following the announcement, on 5 November, of an electoral calendar.

The conclusions stress that it is fundamental, in particular for the legitimacy of the institutions in charge of the transition, to guarantee that the election date, now set for 23 December 2018, is respected.

Zimbabwe invites observers for elections

Zimbabwe will invite observers from the West to monitor its national elections for the first time in more than 15 years, official papers showed, ending a ban imposed by veteran former leader Robert Mugabe.

The vote, scheduled for July, is seen is a major test for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials since he came to power in November after a de facto army coup ousted Mugabe (94).

Zimbabwe will invite the United States, the EU, Australia and the Commonwealth among 46 countries and 15 organisations, a list released by the foreign affairs ministry showed.

The countries and groups on the list were all previously banned from watching elections in 2002 after Mugabe accused them of favouring his opponents.

The West slapped sanctions on Mugabe and members of his inner circle, accusing them of rigging a series of votes – charges they denied.

Joey Bimha, permanent secretary at the foreign ministry, said the invitations would be sent out soon but declined to give more details.

El-Sisi expects endorsement for his ongoing mandate

Polling stations will be open for three days and  Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, a former military commander, has urged Egyptians participate, hinting that he sees the election as a referendum on his four-year rule.

While many Egyptians regards the U.S.-allied leadership as vital factor to stability in a country where unrest since 2011 has hurt the economy, critics say he has presided over Egypt’s worst ever crackdown on dissent and have dubbed the vote a charade.

General El-Sisi (63), who led the military coup d’état of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Mursi in 2013, has cast his bid for a second term as a vote for stability and security.

However a low turnout could suggest El-Sisi enters legitimacy crisis, undermining value of his mandate, needed to revive the economy,  struggling after the 2011 revolution to attract  tourists and foreign investors, abandoning the country after turmoil.

EU appoints observation mission to Sierra Leone

In response to an invitation by the Sierra Leonean authorities, the European Union has decided to deploy an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sierra Leone to observe the general elections scheduled for 7 March. This is the fourth time that the European Union is observing general elections in Sierra Leone, which reflects the EU’s long-term commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.

Federica Mogherini, the EU top diplomat, has appointed Ms. Jean Lambert, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer:

“The elections of 7 March 2008 are a milestone for the democratic process of Sierra Leone. It’s a great opportunity for the government, the National Election Commission and political parties to foster transparent, credible and peaceful elections” , Mogherini said. “This year’s general elections are very competitive and the rule of law should prevail. Under the leadership of Chief Observer Lambert the EU EOM will make an important contribution to this electoral process”.

“I am honoured to lead the EU EOM to Sierra Leone. The forthcoming general elections will be another defining moment in the country’s democratic process as a peaceful transition of power will take place for the second time after the end of the civil war” – the Chief Observer, Ms. Lambert, said ahead of his mission.  “Sierra Leone has achieved progress in terms of democratisation and governance since the end of the civil war, and this election should further consolidate stable democratic institutions. I trust that all institutions and political parties will work together to ensure that voters will be able to express their choice in a free, peaceful and calm environment, with all sides refraining from any actions or statements that may incite violence.”

The EOM Core Team of nine EU election analysts arrived in Freetown on 25 January, and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process to prepare a comprehensive assessment.

On 7 February, an additional group of 28 long-term observers will be deployed to Sierra Leone’s counties, ‘In this respect, the work of our long-term observers will be essential for our assessment. They all have substantial experience in observing elections around the world’ – declared Ms. Lambert.

In early March additional 40 short-term observers will be deployed across the country. A delegation of the European Parliament and diplomats from EU Member States will also reinforce the mission on election day. The EU EOM looks forward to cooperate with other international elections observation missions that have endorsed the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.

The deployment of an EU EOM aims to contribute to enhancing the transparency of the process, the respect for fundamental freedoms and will submit to the consideration of the authorities a set of recommendations to further improve the election framework for future elections.

MEPs call Kabila to hold elections in 2018

Democratic Republic of Congo: government must hold elections on 23 December 2018

The European Parliament regrets that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) did not hold elections by the 2017 deadline and calls on its President Joseph Kabila, and his government to guarantee to hold presidential and legislative elections on 23 December 2018. They add that any EU contribution to the electoral process should be conditional on concrete government measures that demonstrate the political will to hold the elections in December 2018, including the publication of a realistic electoral budget.

MEPs ask Congolese authorities to release all prisoners of conscience and to conduct an independent investigation into the violent repression of the demonstrations of December 2017. The European Parliament also urges the International Criminal Court and the UN to investigate the claims put forward by the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which says Congolese security forces and government-backed militias are perpetrating crimes against humanity in Kasai province, where 40 mass grave sites have been discovered. To combat the escalating cholera epidemic in the DRC, MEPs ask the EU and its member states to increase financial and humanitarian aid through reliable organisations.

 

Kenyan elections: from hopes to confrontations

European Union observers of Kenya’s 2017 presidential and parliamentary elections said on that a lack of government cooperation meant they were unable to travel to the East African nation to present their final report on the vote.

“Kenyans went from high hopes for these elections to many disappointments and confrontations. Kenya remains deeply divided. Our final report and recommendations are intended to contribute to a better democratic process and a restoration of trust. But with every recommendation, leadership from those in power, support from the population, and cooperation between different fractions are needed in order to initiate reforms” – Chief Observer, Marietje Schaake (pictured) Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the Netherlands explained.

Chief observer said the EU mission was scheduled to present its final report to the government and other groups in Kenya this week. The report to be published imperatively within three months of the vote, per the mission’s agreement with the government.

“We hope the recommendations in our final report will contribute to more resilient
democracy from which all Kenyans benefit”, – MEP Schaake concluded.

“This takes time to build up, which is why it is important that steps
are taken promptly to improve the legal framework, institutions and practices.”

Liberia “new era” after elections

The EU sends its congratulations to George Weah for his victory in the Presidential elections in Liberia as announced by the National Elections Commission.

“All political leaders showed responsibility in accepting swiftly the outcome of the elections. The professionalism of the Liberian Institutions, in particular the National Elections Commission and the Liberian National Police, was key,” – says the text of the statement of the European External Action Service spokesperson.

“The high and peaceful participation of Liberian people contributed to the success of the electoral process. These elections open a new era after twelve years of successful leadership by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.”

“The EU Election Observation Mission, headed by Chief Observer Maria Arena, observed the elections in close cooperation with national and international actors. It began its work in Liberia since September 2017, observed the full process of the elections and will soon issue its final report. The report will include recommendations for the strengthening of Liberia’s future electoral processes. The important role of ECOWAS and UNMIL during the elections are positive expressions of the role of regional and international organisations.”

“The recent presidential executive order will allow a peaceful transition process from the current government to the new one. The EU will remain an important and reliable partner of Liberia and is ready to continue working with the new Government on national issues, as well as on regional and international challenges.”

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