EU deploys observer mission for elections


By Nation Reporter

THE European Union (EU) has predicated a possible rerun in the presidential election after August 11 and has since deployed an Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) team to observe the elections. 

In a statement, Ambassador of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA, Mr. Alessandro Mariani said that “the high representative of the European Union for foreign and security policy has decided to deploy an EOM  to Zambia to observe the forthcoming general elections on 11 August, including a possible second round for the presidential elections in case it is needed as prescribed by the relevant law”.

Mr. Mariani said that the EU was committed to supporting Zambia’s democracy and that they would liaise with other international observer missions that would be present in the country for the upcoming elections.

‘The EU EOM is going to work in an impartial and transparent manner with the Electoral Commission of Zambia and all other Zambian stakeholders who have unanimously supported its deployment,’’ he said.

Mr. Mariani explained that the EU EOM was independent in its findings and conclusions and that it would adhere to the declaration of principles for international election observation as signed at the United Nations in October 2005.

He said that the EU EOM team would be deployed in several phases with a core team which was expected to arrive by the month end of June and would remain in the country throughout the elections period with a view to follow closely all phases of the electoral process.

Mr. Mariani said that the memorandum of understanding which was signed to set out the rights and obligations of the EU observers, as a response to an invitation from the Zambian authorities, was under the mandate of the high representative of the European Union for foreign and security policy.

‘‘The advance team of the EU Election Observation Mission is in the country to carry out feasibility assessment for deployment of its election observers ahead of the 2016 presidential and general elections,’’ he said.

Mr. Mariani said that the upcoming elections provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the commitment of Zambia to ensure peaceful, credible and transparent elections.

He said the European Union had confidence in the Electoral Commission of Zambia and its capacity to successfully organise the upcoming elections which he hoped would be free from violence and fully respecting fundamental democratic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.