The European Union will deploy an EU Election Observation Mission to monitor the December 4th presidential election in The Gambia. The E.U observation deployment mission would be in response to an invitation by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
According to a press release, Norbert Neuser, Member of the European Parliament, will be the Chief Observer as per his appointment by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission.
High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “Anchoring the democratic change that the Gambian people achieved in 2017 continues to be on top of the EU agenda. This will be the first EU mission to observe a presidential election in The Gambia and its deployment reaffirms our commitment to supporting the consolidation of democracy. Under the leadership of Chief Observer Mr Neuser, the EU EOM will provide an independent, evidence-based assessment of the electoral process and work together with Gambian citizens to consolidate the democratic advancements,” the E.U press release states.
The designated Chief Observer, Mr Neuser, said he believes it is crucial for the European Union to accompany these presidential elections in The Gambia. “I am confident that citizens will actively scrutinize the process and I trust that state authorities, political parties and all candidates will play their part in promoting a peaceful and credible election,” he said.
The Core Team of the EU Election Observation Mission consists of 9 election experts who will arrive in Banjul on 27 October and stay until the completion of the electoral process. On 4 November, 16 Long-Term Observers will join the mission and will be deployed across The Gambia’s 7 regions. Their capacity will be reinforced by 16 Short-Term Observers from Europe and several locally recruited Short-Term Observers on election day.
After election day, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Banjul. A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented and shared with stakeholders after the finalisation of the entire electoral process.
This will be the second time the EU deploys an EOM to The Gambia, but the first mission to observe a presidential election in the country. In early 2017, the EU deployed an EOM for the parliamentary elections in 2017 and an Election Follow-up Mission (EFM) in 2019.