EU election observers pledge full neutrality in Ethiopian polls

EU Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia 2010
The EU EOM is headed by Chief Observer Thijs Berman, a Dutch member of the European Parliament. The mission consists of 10 Core Team members (analysts), 90 Long Term Observers and more than 60 Short Term Observers from 22 EU Member States, as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada.

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) – The European Union (EU) team of election observer s, in Ethiopia to observer the country’s parliamentary elections, has pledged full neutrality in the 23 May elections.

The EU’s Election Observer Mission (EOM) head, Tijis Berman, is due to arrive in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, ahead of the national elections in the East African country, the EU said in a statement obtai ned here Sunday.

He is heading a 170-member Election Observation Mission that arrived in Ethiopia on 14 April.

”We hope that the presence of EU observers will contribute to the integrity and credibility of the election process,” he said, before leaving Europe.

”We are neutral, independent and impartial in our conduct and findings, and we do not interfere in the process. Our job is to observe all procedures, and based on our established methodology and experience, I am confident we will succeed in that,” the top election observer said.

Once in Addis, the chief observer will hold meetings with political party repres entatives, candidates, government and election officials, civil society representatives and the media.

He will also travel to some regions of the country to meet with interlocutors at constituency level.

The EU EOM is the largest international observation mission deployed to Ethiopia to assess House of Representatives and State Council elections.

The Mission now includes a core team of electoral experts, 90 Long Term Observer s (LTOs) and 60 Short Term Observers (STOs).

All EU observers must abide by a code of conduct which require them to maintain strict neutrality in the course of their work, and to not interfere in the election process.

The EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement of its findings at a press confere nce on 25 May..

Final report will be issued within two months of the completion of the entire el ection process.