New Zimbabwe.com

EU election mission assesses Zimbabwe situation

THE European Union (EU) election exploratory mission is in the country to assess the possibility of deploying an observer mission for the upcoming 2018 polls.

The mission, starting Monday, will assess whether an EU election observer mission (EOM) deployed for the 2018 harmonised elections would be useful as a constructive contribution to the electoral process, feasible and advisable.

An EU statement released Monday confirmed that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had invited the EU to observe the elections scheduled for between July and August.

The EU last observed elections in the country in 2002 at the height of bad relations with the government of former President Robert Mugabe. An official from the EU observer mission, Pierre Schori, was expelled then for allegedly pre-judging the electoral processes.

The EU is among other external election observer missions expected for the 2018 harmonised elections and would join Southern African Development Committee (SADC) and the African Union (AU) among others.

The SADC mission last week met government, opposition parties and all other stakeholders involved in the electoral processes to assess whether the country is ready for the polls.

“In preparation of a possible EU Election Observation Mission (EU EOM), and upon invitation by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Zimbabwe, the European Union’s External Action Service is conducting an Exploratory Mission to Zimbabwe in the week starting today (Monday).

The purpose of the Exploratory Mission is to gather factual information on the pre-electoral situation, based on a wide range of meetings with both governmental and non-governmental electoral stakeholders, and in line with the EU election observation methodology to assess whether a possible EU EOM deployed for the 2018 harmonised elections would be useful as a constructive contribution to the electoral process, feasible and advisable,” read part of the statement.

The technical mission will submit a report to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, in view of her decision on deployment of a possible EU EOM.