Election Observation Mission in Sudan

A Southern Sudan Referendum is scheduled to take place between 9 and 15 January 2011. On this occasion, the EU has deployed an Election Observation Mission (EOM) on December 20th.

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission said that the forthcoming Referendum was an important step in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which would put an end to the long civil war in Sudan. Given the importance of all aspects of the CPA to the peaceful future of Sudan, the EU has consistently provided its support for the Referendum and has employed an observation mission to neutrally observe the process.

Led by Véronique de Keyser, a Member of the European Parliament, the 110 observers will assess the Referendum process all over Sudan, including polling, counting and tabulation of the results, as well as the post-referendum period.

Catherine Ashton said the EU EOM role is to observe that electoral processes are in accordance with international standards for democratic elections and a country’s own domestic legislation. The EOM will operate in a challenging electoral, security and logistical context. She is convinced that with the lead of Véronique de Keyser and with good cooperation with the Sudanese authorities, this EOM will successfully carry out its mandate.

The first wave of experts and Long-Term observers arrived in Sudan in November to observe the Voter Registration exercise – the first time the EU has assessed this part of the process. They have now been joined by more analysts and Long-Term Observers. A group of Short-Term observers will deploy nearer the polling period. In addition, the mission will be reinforced by a delegation of Members of the European Parliament.

The mission will present a preliminary report including comprehensive recommendations, based on exhaustive facts and information, shortly after polling, and then a Final Report once the entire process is over. The mission will stay in the country for several weeks after polling takes place.

The EU also contributed €6m to referendum-related issues. Following the signature of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005, an amount of €665m was provided by the EU in development aid in addition to €779m in humanitarian aid since 2003.

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