By Edrissa Jallow
The Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Mr Norbert Neuser informed the media that they trust the state Authorities, Political Parties and all Presidential Candidates will play their part in promoting a credible and peaceful 4th December 2021 Presidential election in The Gambia.
“We will observe the pre-election phase as well as the voting, counting and tabulation process. The EU EOM will provide a comprehensive assessment of the entire electoral process and provide recommendations for future elections. We stick strictly to our mandate of non-interference and neutrality. Our mission is here to contribute with impartial and objective assessments,” Mr Neuser told journalists at a press conference on Friday 12th November 2021 at Ocean Bay Hotel located in Cape Point, Bakau.
The EU EOM to The Gambia arrived in The Gambia on 27th October 2021 and has since deployed Elections Observers that have been accredited by the Independent Electoral Commission.
The press release stated that an additional 38 short-term observers will reinforce the EU EOM, which will have around 70 observers and analysts on the ground. The EU EOM noted that their observers are bound by a code of conduct, which requires strict neutrality and non-interference.
Elaborating on their mission, the EU EOM aims to undertake its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. The ‘Declaration of Principles for International Election Observations’ was adopted by the United Nations in 2005 by a number of international bodies involved in election observation.
According to the EU EOM Delegation, the mission aims to assess the implementation of the Presidential Election according to the Gambian legal framework, applicable international regulations and best practices for democratic elections.
“After several meetings in Banjul yesterday, I hope all sides are committed to conducting the upcoming election according to the Gambian law and regulations as well as international standards. Our long-term observers are following the electoral process in all 7 administrative areas since last weekend. They have already met various stakeholders to inform our observation”, said Mr Neuser.
During the press conference, they explain that the mission’s mandate is to observe all aspects of the electoral process and assess the extent to which the elections comply with international and regional commitments for elections, as well as with the laws of The Gambia.
“We’ve deployed 16 long-term observers throughout the different regions of the Gambia. We observe and analyse the whole electoral process, including the legal framework, electoral administration, voter registration, nominations, campaigning, the conduct of the media, voting and the counting, the tabulation of results and dispute resolution mechanisms”, said Chief Observer Mr Neuser.
Mr Neuser says they will publish their initial findings in a preliminary report, which will be presented at a press conference shortly after Election Day. A final report with recommendations to all stakeholders will be presented at a later stage.