Pak Polls: EU launches Election Observation Mission

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{image-Pak polls_05012008.jpg}Islamabad, Jan 5: The European Union (EU) has launched its full Election Observation Mission (EOM) to monitor the February 18 polls in Pakistan. While pressing President Pervez Musharraf"s government to do more to ensure transparency, Michael Gahler, who will head the mission said, “The European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, had decided to upgrade the EU limited mission".

About 50 observers would be deployed in Pakistan and additional observers would later join them. “The EOM would issue a preliminary report 72 hours after the elections and a final report would be released two months later, consisting of a comprehensive assessment of the polls process," he said.

Gahler also said that the steps should be taken to ensure that all counting and tabulation processes were fully open to scrutiny by candidates, agents and observers.

He further added that the Government should also ensure that state and local officials do not use state assets to influence the electoral process.

“All media outlets should be free to cover the entire poll process so that voters could make an informed choice," the Daily Times quoted Gahler, as saying.


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