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IP/06/1571

Brussels, 16 November 2006

European Union deploys Election Observation Mission to Venezuela

The European Commission has begun to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to the Venezuelan Presidential elections scheduled for 3 December. The Mission will be led by Mónica Frassoni, Member of the European Parliament. The decision to deploy an EOM was prompted by an invitation to observe the elections received from Venezuela's National Electoral Council last July.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, said: "This mission confirms our support for the electoral process in Venezuela, and follows on from our support for the parliamentary elections in 2005. Genuine electoral competence is vital if democracy is to be strengthened, and the EU would like to contribute to the process through impartial, objective and independent observation."

The core EOM team comprises a Chief Observer and ten electoral experts, who include electronic voting experts and a security assessor. They will shortly be joined by 36 long-term observers who will follow the campaign and the organisation of the elections throughout the country. Some 80 short-term observers, together with a delegation of Members of the European Parliament and a number of diplomats from EU embassies in Caracas, will be deployed on the eve of the elections, to observe voting procedures, counting and tabulation. In total, the EOM will include 126 observers.

EU EOMs are an important instrument for building support for the democratic processes in a country and are deployed in line with the EU’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and the respect for the rule of law. They are independent and professional, and for this reason their findings are widely seen as credible and trustworthy.

For additional information, see also:

The EU's Human rights & Democratisation Policy – Election Observation Missions: http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/human_rights/eu_election_ass_observ/index.htm

EU-Venezuela relations:
http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/human_rights/eu_election_ass_observ/index.htm

European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR):http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/projects/eidhr/index_en.htm


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