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Brussels, 18 December 2008

Bolivia: EU deploys Election Observation Mission for the Constitutional Referendum of 25 January 2009

Following invitations from the Bolivian electoral authorities, the European Commission has decided to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Bolivia to observe the Referendum on the Ratification of new Constitution, scheduled on 25 January 2009. The EU EOM will be led by Renate Weber, Romanian Member of the European Parliament.

Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, said: “The EU has followed closely the reform process in Bolivia. An EU EOM was deployed in 2006 to observe the elections to the Constitutional Assembly and the Referendum on Regional Autonomy. During 2007 and 2008, the process has not always been smooth and I am happy that finally a consensus was achieved, allowing the organisation of this referendum. I hope the presence of the EU EOM will contribute to the transparency of the process and the enhancement of public confidence. I also hope the campaign for this referendum will allow a real discussion on the contents of the new Constitution and help Bolivia's citizens to make a reasoned choice”.

The EU EOM Core team will consist of the Chief Observer and six experts who will arrive during the last week of December. The EOM core team will accompany the whole process, until the official proclamation of results of the Referendum. The EU EOM will liaise with the country’s national electoral authority (the Corte Nacional Electoral), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all key players in the election process, including national and international observers. The EU EOM will be completed by 22 long-term observers (LTOs) who will be deployed throughout all the departments of the country to follow the campaign period and pre-referendum preparations, as well as voting day and the post-referendum period. Some members of the European Parliament will join the EU EOM around the day of the referendum.

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

The EU is making available €1.4 million, from the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), to meet the cost of deploying this mission.

EU Election Assistance & Observation

European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights

The EU's relations with Bolivia

The EU’s relations with Latin America

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