The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Ghana’s forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections has started its work.
Chief Observer Mr. Javier Nart, a Member of the European Parliament from Spain, stated: “this mission is a clear sign of the EU’s strong commitment to supporting peaceful, credible and transparent elections in the country”.
It is the EU’s third EOM to Ghana after 2008 and 2016, as well as an Election Follow-up Mission in 2019.
“This is a unique and very interesting contest featuring, among the 12 candidates, a President and a former President,” Mr Nart said.
“These important polls will mark yet another milestone for Ghana, and the EU is committed to accompanying the Ghanaian people throughout the process.”
The mission’s mandate is to conduct an independent and comprehensive analysis of the election process. It will also assess the extent to which the process complies with Ghana’s domestic law and international and regional standards for democratic elections.
EU observers will focus on the legal framework, electoral administration, the conduct of traditional and social media, voting, counting and the collation of results. They will remain in the country well beyond Election Day to observe the post-electoral environment.
A core team of nine analysts arrived in Ghana on 31 October 2020. On 7 November they were joined by 40 long-term observers (LTOs). The LTOs are being briefed on all aspects of the elections before being deployed to the country’s 16 regions in the upcoming days.
On Election Day the mission will be supplemented across the country by some 30 locally recruited short-term observers (LSTOs), drawn from the diplomatic community. This will bring the number of EU observers on polling day to over 80, from EU member states as well as Canada, Norway and Switzerland.
“The Coronavirus pandemic”, the Chief Observer said, meant these were “challenging times in which to conduct elections — and challenging times, too, in which to observe them.”
The EU EOM, he said, was “strictly following all procedures and rules set by the Ghanaian authorities to protect the Ghanaian people and our observers from COVID-19.
All of our observers had tested negative at home prior to their departure and immediately after their arrival in Ghana by Ghanaian doctors. Any mission member who may test COVID-19 positive will follow all the procedures put in place by Ghanaian authorities to contain the pandemic.”
All EU EOM observers are bound by a code of conduct that requires strict neutrality, independence and non-interference. The EU EOM works in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.
Some two days after the election, Mr Nart will present the EOM’s initial findings in a preliminary statement. A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented and shared with stakeholders after the finalization of the entire electoral process.