EU deploys Election Observation Mission to Timor-Leste
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice-President of the European commission, Federica Mogherini, has today appointed Izaskun Bilbao Barandica as Head of the European Union Electoral Observation Mission for the Parliamentary and presidential elections in East Timor. The elections will be held on 20 March and 8 July. The European Member of Parliament jeltzale will thus be responsible for coordinating the work and officially communicating the results of the observation process, focusing on support for a transparent and credible process in the country.
In accordance with the official communication issued this morning by the European Union External Action service, the EU is organising this mission in response to an invitation from the authorities in Timor, who have requested this observation work for the two elections to be held this year. From the independence referendum in 1999, the EU has regularly accompanied the electoral processes in East Timor through the deployment of observation missions, the last in 2012. This reflects the long-term commitment of the EU to support credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.
East Timor has taken significant steps to strengthen its democratic institutions since the independence referendum in 1999, to the benefit of its public. This year's elections will be the first general ones without the presence and assistance of the United Nations Integrated Mission. “The EU electoral mission led by its Head, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, will make an important contribution in this process," said Mogherini. Bilbao has stated that "I have the honour of leading the EU's MOE in Timor Oriental. I am confident that all the stakeholders will contribute to guaranteeing that the upcoming elections consolidate the country's history even more when organising the good, credible and peaceful functioning of the elections.”
The central team in the Electoral Observation Mission, consisting of seven EU electoral analysts, arrived in East Timor on 12 February and will remain in the country until the end of the electoral process and will prepare a complete final report. From 20 February, it will be joined by the central team of 16 long-term observers who will be deployed throughout the country and later, for the legislative elections, by another 10 long-term observers. A delegation from the European Parliament and diplomats from member states of the EU in East Timor may also reinforce the mission on election days. The EU's mission expects to cooperate with other international observation missions that have approved the Declaration of Principles for the International Observation of Elections.
Shortly after the presidential and legislative elections, the mission will issue a preliminary declaration of its conclusions in a Press conference in Dili. A final report, which will include recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented in a later stage after the entire electoral process has finalised.
Izaskun Bilbao is a member of the European Parliament team that undertakes this type of work. In this condition she has participated in recent years in various missions of this type in Haiti, Colombia, Peru, Guatemala and Bolivia.