Election observation mission in Azerbaijan. PHOTO MAEC
Election observation
Multiple democratisation processes that began in many parts of the world some decades ago have led to increasing demand for International Election Observation Missions.
What is the aim of International Election Observation?
As a mechanism for the impartial and independent evaluation of election processed, International Election Observation has accompanied many democratisation processes begun in recent years, becoming a clear expression of the international community’s commitment to the promotion of democratic values and human rights.

The potential benefits deriving from the presence of an Election Observation Mission (EOM), which acts under the premises of independence and impartiality, are numerous – a reduction in levels of fraud, the mitigation of conflicts, strengthening the trust of the electorate in the election process, its testimonial function, stronger institutions and an improvement in election processes through the drafting of recommendations.


What does an Election Observation Mission do?
An EOM makes an in-depth analysis of the election process through standardised methodology. This is done with the goal of providing a professional, independent and impartial evaluation of the quality of the election process observed, employing instruments used under international law, good practices and national legislation in regard to the holding of democratic elections.

What is the composition of an Election Observation Mission?
The Core Team: is made up of a head of mission, an assistant head of mission and a number of experts in different fields (electoral, legal, media monitoring, gender, etc.). It is deployed for an average period of between eight and twelve weeks, and is responsible for preparing the Preliminary Report that will include the conclusions of the EOM.

The members of the Core Team of the European Union (EU) EOMs are directly selected by the corresponding European Commission unit - the Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI) - in coordination with the corresponding European External Action Service unit, after previously having been registered on the Data Base of Electoral Experts of the European Union

Announcement of vacancies
The members of the Core Team of the EOMs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are selected by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), after previously being registered on the Data Base of Electoral Experts of the ODIHR
Announcement of vacancies

Long-term observers (LTO): are responsible for analysing the development of the election process in their areas of responsibility for the pre- and post-election period, and are deployed for an average period of between six and eight weeks.

Short-term observers (STO): are responsible for observing the process of voting, counting and consolidating the results, and are deployed for an average period of between seven and fifteen days.


What organisations perform Election Observation?
The EU, the OSCE and the Organization of American States (OAS) are the main international organisations that perform Election Observation Missions on which Spanish election observers participate. One regional organisation - the African Union - has in recent years become a key regional player in its geographic area. Together with these international organisations, some non-governmental organisations perform International Election Observation, including the Carter Centre, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI).

What is the function of the Human Rights Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation?
The Human Rights Office (Spanish acronym: ODH) is the unit in charge of pre-selecting or selecting the long- and short-term election observers for the Election Observation Missions of the EU, the OAS and the OSCE.

For the European Union EOMs, the ODH presents the corresponding European Commission Unit – the FPI – with a list of pre-selected candidates, and the FPI makes the final selection of observers. For the EOMs of the OSCE, the ODH directly selects the observers. For the EOMs of the OAS, the selection is made by the ODH in coordination with the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) of the OAS.

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