EU launches election observation mission

Kathmandu, November 7

The European Union today officially launched its Election Observation Mission for the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections slated for November 26 and December 7.

The mission is headed by Chief Observer Zeljana Zovko, member of the European Parliament from Croatia.

The mission includes a core team of Kathmandu-based 10 election analysts who arrived in Nepal on October 25 and 38 long-term observers who were deployed this morning across the country to observe electoral preparations and campaign.

These observers will meet election officials, candidates and representatives of civil society, and will report their observations back to the core team in Kathmandu, according to the mission.

Shortly before the first election day on November 26, the mission will be reinforced by 20 short-term observers who will observe the election proceedings.

An additional 24 short-term observers will arrive to observe the second election day on December 7 and subsequent counting of votes, according to the mission.

It said the long- and short-term election observers would be joined by a delegation of seven members of the European Parliament as well as diplomats from European embassies in Nepal, bringing the total number of EU observers over the two phases of the elections to more than 100.

The mission said it would issue a preliminary statement of its initial findings shortly after the second and final phase of elections, and a more comprehensive final report, including recommendation for future elections, would be published afterwards.

Speaking at the launch of the event in a Kathmandu hotel, Zovko said, “The elections on November 26 and December 7 mark an important stage in Nepal’s democratic development, and I very much hope that our presence will contribute to an inclusive and transparent electoral process.”

She said the mission’s mandate was to observe all aspects of the electoral process and to assess the extent to which the elections were in compliance with the laws of Nepal.

Zovko added that the EU observers will adhere to a strict code of conduct for international election observers that require they maintain neutrality and impartiality in the course of their work and do not interfere in the electoral process.

The mission said the observers would be deployed in 63 districts during the two election phases, and the total expenses for the mission stood at 3.5 million euros.