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EU deploys 32-member election observation mission

WITH 26 days remaining from today to a decisive election next month, the European Union has deployed a 32-member election observation mission, on a long-term basis.

The dispatch was done by European Union (EU) long-term observers deputy chief observer Dimitra Ioannou at Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka yesterday.

The EU election observation mission is independent from the EU delegation to Zambia, EU member States and other EU services.

According to Ioannou, the EU election observation mission is led by Maria Arena, a member of the European Parliament from Belgium.

Arena is set to arrive in Lusaka next week.

“The European Union has deployed an election observation mission to observe the August 12 general election,” Ioannou said.

She pointed out that the first group of 10 analysts arrived in Lusaka last month and that they would be based at the Radisson Blu Hotel for the entire period.

“Today we deploy 32 long-term observers in all 10 provinces of Zambia. They are going to meet with local authorities, electoral officers, political parties and candidates, media, civil society organisations and of course, they will observe campaign activities,” she said. “The role of the long-term observers is very important because they are going to collect all the necessary information from the field and transmit it here to the headquarters.”

Ioannou indicated that shortly before the elections, “we are going to have 32 locally recruited short-term observes to join the mission.”

“I would like here to state the main principles of the European Union election observation mission methodology, which is independence, strict impartiality and non-interference in the process,” Ioannou noted. “The mission is independent on its findings and conclusions from EU services, from member States and the EU delegation. 48 hours after the election day, the mission will issue a preliminary statement with the first findings.”

After completion of the entire electoral process, Ioannou said the EU election observation mission would issue its final report, with recommendations for future electoral processes.

“The chief observer, Mrs Maria Arena, will be here in Lusaka next week and we are going to have a press conference for her to present the mission,” said Ioannou.

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