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EU Election Observation Mission unveils roadmap

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The European Union (EU) Election Observation Mission (EOM) had announced its work plan in Lesotho for the upcoming general elections slated for October 7.

Addressing the journalists during the press conference in Maseru on Wednesday, the EU EOM Chief Observer Ignazio Corrao, and a Member of the European Parliament, said the Mission came to Lesotho following the invitation by the government.

He said the Mission has deployed 22 long-term observers in all districts.

The Chief Observer further said the EU EOM will be present in the country for the next six weeks until when the elections have been published by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Corrao further indicated that they are expecting the arrival of 30 short-term observers and also the delegation from the European Parliament.

He also noted that this is the first time the EU deploys the elections observer mission to Lesotho.

According to the Mission’s press release, the observers come from all the EU Member States and their findings will inform the analysis of what is happening on the ground on elections-related activities in all the 10 districts.

The EU-EOM Deputy Chief Observer Armin Rabitsch said their work will be guided by the EU methodology regulating the observation of the elections.

“The EU EOM is bound by a code of conduct, which requires among others strict neutrality and non-interference. It undertakes its work in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, endorsed under UN auspices in 2005,” reads the Mission’s press release.

The EU-EOM will assess the electoral process and some of their focal areas are the elections legal framework, the process of the elections administration, the role of the Lesotho institutions, voter registration, campaign activities, the role played by the media in disseminating electoral information, the role played by the civil society, the voting process, counting and publication of the results, the complaints and appeals that may be lodged and the results announcement.

The EU-EOM Press Officer Kimmo Ràntilà said according to the methodology adopted by the EU, the Mission will publish its preliminary report after 48hours after the elections, which will be Sunday, October 9.

Meanwhile, the Mission’s final report that will have the recommendation will be published after the completion of the electoral process.

There are 65 political parties registered with the IEC and not all are going to contest for these highly anticipated elections as six of them have formed alliances. 

The electoral journey, which started on July 19 when the election period was announced through the proclamation of the gazette, and the process has been punctuated with many activities ranging from the publication of the electors’ register, submission of objections to the electors’ register and announcement of nominated candidates at the constituencies.

From Monday this week until Friday, the Commission is receiving the applications of the advance voters, and the voting for advance voters is scheduled for September 30.

The final elections results are expected to be announced by the Commission on October 14.