By Omar Bah The European Union has started deploying its Election Observation Mission to the Gambia for the forthcoming parliamentary election, following an invitation from the Independent Electoral Commission. A statement from the EU Banjul office said Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Mr. Miroslav Poche, a member of the European Parliament from the Czech Republic as head of the mission. Prior to his election to the European Parliament, Mr. Poche had an extensive political career in the Czech Republic. He arrived in Banjul yesterday with 14 long-term observers (LTOs) who will be deployed in multinational teams of two throughout the country to broaden the scope of observation as well as tabulation of the results. According to the EU country rep, another core team of six experts arrives in the Gambia on 13 March and will stay in the country until completion of the election process. “A delegation of seven members of the European Parliament will also be integrated into the mission on a date close to Election Day, as will l locally-recruited short term observers from EU member states’ embassies accredited to The Gambia.” The EU country rep further highlighted that around Election Day the mission will comprise up to 50 observers drawn from EU member states, as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland. “This will be the first time when the European Union deploys a fully-fledged election observation mission to The Gambia, reflecting the EU’s commitment to supporting The Gambia’s democratic transition and the level of international interest in it,” stressed the Chief Observer, Mr. Miroslav Poche. The mission operates in accordance with the “Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation,” adopted under the auspices of the United Nations in 2005. In addition, a Code of Conduct that assures strict neutrality and impartiality in the course of their duties binds observers. The EU EOM will present its statement of preliminary findings and conclusions in a press conference within 48 hours after the Election Day. At a later stage the mission will issue a comprehensive final report that will also contain recommendations offered for consideration by the authorities, political parties and civil society, in further support of their efforts to conduct elections in line with national legislation. Both documents will be available online.]]>
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By Omar Bah Veteran politician and former minister in both the Jawara and Barrow governments Omar Jallow (OJ), has advised the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations...
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