The FINANCIAL -- MINSK. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on November 15 opened an election observation mission for the 19 December presidential election in Belarus.
According to OSCE, the mission, headed by Ambassador Geert-Hinrich Ahrens, was established following an invitation from the Foreign Ministry of Belarus. It comprises 14 experts based in Minsk and 40 long-term observers, who will be deployed throughout the country on a month ahead of the elections.
In addition, ODIHR will request that OSCE participating States provide 400 short-term observers who will arrive several days before election day. They will observe the early voting process, the opening of polling stations, voting, counting of ballots and the tabulation of results.
The mission will assess the election for compliance with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections as well as domestic legislation. Observers will closely monitor campaign activities, the legislative framework and its implementation, the media situation, the work of the election administration and relevant state bodies, as well as the resolution of election disputes.
The ODIHR election observation mission will join efforts with the delegation of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
A statement of preliminary findings and conclusions will be issued on the day after the election. A final report on the observation of the entire electoral process will be issued about eight weeks after the end of the observation mission.
The ODIHR election observation mission and the OSCE Office in Minsk operate separately under their specific mandates.