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Brussels, 9 March 2011

Nigeria: EU to observe the April elections in Nigeria

The European Union is deploying an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Nigeria for the April 2011 elections, scheduled to take place over a period of three weeks, including National Assembly (April 2nd), Presidential (April 9th) and State House/Governor elections (April 16th). MEP Alojz Peterle has been appointed as Chief Observer. Mr Peterle, a former Prime Minister of Slovenia, is making his first visit to Abuja. He will lead the EOM that will assess pre-election preparations and campaigning across the country, voting, counting and tabulation of the results for each election as well as the post-election period.

Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said: “The upcoming intense elections calendar in Nigeria is important, not only for Nigeria but also for the region. Nigeria, as a major regional and global player, has an opportunity to show leadership in the democratic transformation of the West African region, and beyond. The invitation which we received to observe elections indicates the Nigerian government’s willingness to ensure that the 2011 elections meet international standards. In this context, I am delighted that MEP Alojz Peterle, who has a vast experience as a national politician in Slovenia, as OSCE High Level Representative for Central Asia as well as a European Member of Parliament, agreed last week to take on the role of Chief Observer.”

The core team of experts composing the EOM already settled in the country at the end of February. In his capacity as Chief Observer, Mr Peterle is visiting Abuja on March 8th and 9th to introduce the mission to the Nigerian authorities. Mr Peterle was a former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Slovenia. As an MEP, Mr Peterle is member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

The EOM core team will be joined by 52 long term observers by mid-March, followed by a group of 60 short term observers at the end of the month. In all, the EU EOM will have more than 120 observers in the field.

A Delegation of the European Parliament is expected to join the mission for the Presidential election scheduled for April 9th.

At the end of the electoral process, the EU EOM will issue a preliminary statement followed by a final report containing its findings and recommendations for the authorities. The EU EOM is independent from any EU institutions and the Member States.

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