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EU dispatches long-term observers to governorates

By Hani Hazaimeh - Dec 30,2012 - Last updated at Dec 30,2012

AMMAN — The EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) on Sunday deployed 24 long-term observers to the Kingdom’s 12 governorates where they will stay for 40 days to observe the upcoming parliamentary elections, Deputy Chief Observer Dimitra Ioannou said.

In statements to The Jordan Times on Sunday, Ioannou said the long-term observer group, one of several groups deployed by the EU mission, was split into 12 teams of two observers: one for each governorate.

“The observers will cover all 12 governorates in both urban and rural areas. They will observe the entire electoral process prior, during and after the parliamentary elections scheduled for January 23. They will be meeting government and electoral officials, candidates and representatives from political parties, civil society and the media,” she said, adding that the observers will report to the mission’s headquarters in Amman on a weekly basis.

According to the mission, the long-term observers represent the second contingent of observers, following the core team, which arrived in the country on December 13.

Ioannou noted that 28 other short-term observers, in addition to a delegation from the European Parliament, will join the long-term teams shortly before the election, adding that together with locally recruited diplomats, the mission will in total deploy over 80 observers on election day, from 27 EU member states as well as Norway and Switzerland.

“The EU EOM conducts a comprehensive analysis of the electoral process based on a methodology developed by the EU over many years,” she said.

“This analysis includes aspects such as the legal framework, the work of the election administration, the campaign activities of the candidates and political parties, the conduct of the media, the voting, counting and the tabulation of results, and the complaints and appeals process.”

Vibeke Klitgard, one of the long-term observers who will be working in Jerash, said that while this was her first visit to the Kingdom, she and the other observers had undergone a three-day orientation workshop on the culture, traditions and history of the country as well as the legal framework in the Kingdom.

She added that she has taken part in previous election observation missions in the Arab region, including Lebanon, the West Bank and Algeria.

The EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement shortly after the elections. A final report with technical recommendations for future elections will be published later, according to the mission’s press office.

The EU has signed memoranda of understanding with the Independent Election Commission and the Foreign Ministry, guaranteeing freedom of movement to all EU EOM members and access to all polling stations and related sites and bodies and to all relevant information.

The mission is independent of any EU institutions or member states and is obliged to remain neutral and abide by the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct, as well as Jordanian law.

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