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European Union Deploys Electoral Observation Mission to Senegal

At the invitation of the Senegalese Government, the European Union deployed an Electoral Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Senegal to observe the presidential election of February 25. The mission is led by Malin Björk, Member of the European Parliament, who has been in the country since last Monday.

“This mission will be impartial, independent and will not interfere in the electoral process,” declared Malin Björk during a press conference in Dakar. The Chief Observer recalled the principles that guide European electoral observation: “these elections belong to the Senegalese people. We want to contribute, through our objective evaluation, to a democratic electoral process in which all voices can be heard, and the choices of Senegalese voters respected.”

During her visit, the Chief Observer, Malin Björk, will meet with the electoral administration, candidates, media and civil society. She underlined: “the mission listens very carefully to all the interlocutors, in order to know their assessment of the electoral process, the political and legal context, as well as respect for fundamental freedoms, including the freedom to stand as a candidate and to campaign freely. We will listen to their concerns and their expectations for an election that will mark the future of Senegal. Furthermore, the mission wishes to meet all the candidates for the presidential election, wherever they are and whatever their current situation.”

The EU EOM is present in Senegal at the invitation of the Senegalese Government, but it operates completely independently. All observers must respect Senegalese laws as well as a code of conduct which guarantees their impartiality and non-interference. A senior team of 10 electoral experts arrived in Senegal in mid-January. They were joined by a group of 32 long-term observers who will be deployed next Friday to all regions of the country. A few days before the election, 64 short-term observers will join the mission, as well as a delegation of members of the European Parliament and around twenty diplomats stationed in Dakar. In total, the EU EOM will have more than 130 observers from the 27 EU Member States, Switzerland, Norway and Canada.

The EU EOM will carry out an in-depth and long-term analysis of the electoral process, in accordance with Senegalese law, international and regional commitments ratified by Senegal, as well as good electoral practices.

The EU EOM will publish its first findings in a preliminary statement to be presented at a press conference two days after the February 25 vote. The mission will remain in the country until the end of the electoral process, including in the event of a possible second round. A few weeks later the mission will present a final report containing an in-depth analysis as well as recommendations in a spirit of constructive partnership and collaboration.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Delegation of the European Union to Senegal.


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