EU launches first fully-fledged observer mission for Guyana elections

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The European Union (EU) on Thursday launched what is its first fully-fledged observer mission for Guyana’s elections, which at full strength will see about 50 observers in the country from 19 European states and Norway.

The Chief Observer is Urmas Paet, a member of the European Parliament.

At a press conference held at the Marriott Hotel in Georgetown, the Chief Observer said the observers are not interested in who wins the elections but rather it is interested in how they win.

He said the presence of the EU electoral observer mission demonstrates the European Union’s commitment to the conduct of inclusive, transparent and credible elections in Guyana.

The mission will not only focus on Election Day but on the entire electoral process, including the campaign the results tabulation and the resolution of any election-related disputes after voting has finished.

Paet said while the mission will not have a permanent presence at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECO) it will be observing its work.

Currently, the mission is made up of a core team of nine elections experts and 14 experienced long-term observers who have already been dispatched to the country’s ten regions.

Shortly before March 02, 20 short-term observers will arrive to observe voting, counting and tabulation of results. On Elections Day, the mission will add locally recruited short-term observers who will be drawn from Diplomatic Missions of EU States in Guyana.

The mission will first pronounce on its observations on March 4 and will follow up with a final report a few months later.

“The mission is independent in its findings and conclusions and EU observers adhere to a strict code of conduct for international observers that requires they maintain strict neutrality and impartiality in the course of their work and do not interfere in the electoral process,” the mission stated.

The EU last had an electoral mission in Guyana for the 2001 general and regional elections.

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