A nine-member team of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Ghana’s forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, has started work.
In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, Mr Javier Nart, Chief Observer, Member of the European Parliament from Spain, said “This mission is a clear sign of the EU’s strong commitment to supporting peaceful, credible and transparent elections in the country.”
He said this was EU’s third EOM to Ghana after 2008 and 2016, as well as an Election Follow-up Mission in 2019.
Mr Nart described this year’s elections as “unique and interesting”, featuring, among the 12 candidates, a President and a former President.
“The polls will mark yet another milestone for Ghana and the EU is committed to accompanying the Ghanaian people throughout the process.”
He said the Mission’s mandate was to conduct an independent and comprehensive analysis of the election process and that the team would also assess the extent to, which the process complied with Ghana’s domestic laws and international and regional standards for democratic elections.
Mr Nart said the observers would focus on the legal framework, electoral administration, the conduct of traditional and social media, voting, counting and the collation of results.
He said the team would remain in the country beyond Election Day to observe the post-electoral environment.
Mr Nart said a core team of nine analysts arrived in Ghana on October 30, 2020, and on November 7 they were joined by 40 long-term observers (LTOs).
He said the LTOs were being briefed on all aspects of the elections before being deployed to the country’s 16 regions ahead of the polls.
Mr Nart said on Election Day, the Mission would be supplemented across the country by 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,” he said.
“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.”
He said the EU EOM was strictly following all procedures and rules set by the Ghanaian authorities to protect the Ghanaians and the observers from COVID-19.
Additionally, he said all observers had tested negative at home before their departure and immediately after they arrived in Ghana by Ghanaian doctors and that any mission member who might test COVID-19 positive would follow all the procedures put in place by Ghanaian authorities to contain the pandemic.