African delegates observe the European Parliament elections

African delegates observe the European Parliament elections

Saturday, 05 September, 2009

Two pan-African delegations have visited Europe, from 1 to 8 June, to attend a seminar on election observation and to attend the election of members of the European Parliament (EP).

One delegation, invited by the European Commission and the Belgian government, consisted of a dozen representatives of national electoral commissions, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society from francophone African countries (Algeria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire, DRC, Gabon, Madagascar, Central African Republic). It was accompanied by a representative of the African Union Commission.

The programme included a theoretical part on good practices and methodology in the field of election observation, and a practical part on the European Parliament and regional elections in Belgium, including meetings with representatives of major political parties and the visit of polling stations using traditional and automated systems, on 7 June, up until ballot count and the publication of results by the media.

The second delegation was invited by the European Parliament and composed of members of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP). After an introductory session on the institutions and the electoral mechanisms in Brussels, it embarked on the Eurostar to London, where it observed the elections in different polling stations on June 4, after a visit of the British Parliament and a meeting with the Minister for Cooperation and Relations with Africa, and some members of the European Parliament belonging to different British political parties. The delegation then flew over to Wiesbaden, Germany, to meet with election officials at federal, regional and municipal levels and accompany a campaigning MEP. It observed elections on 7 June, before flying back to the European Parliament in Brussels for the publication of results.

Under the partnership on democratic governance and human rights, the European Union and the African Union have agreed to support the actions of the AU in electoral assistance and electoral observation.