Back in an embrace? The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly says it is back working with ODIHR on election monitoring.

Francois-Xavier de Donnea presenting a report of the

Ad Hoc Committee on Transparency and Reform of

the OSCE at the Bureau of the OSCE Parliamentary

Assembly in Copenhagen on 15 April 2013.

Picture courtesy of the OSCE PA

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Bureau on Monday (15 April) decided to reactivate the 16-year-old agreement that guides election observation by the OSCE.

A statement on the OSCE PA website said that “four months after declaring the 1997 Co-operation Agreement no longer operable, the Assembly today reactivated the agreement and said it needed to be applied to ensure that the OSCE speaks with one voice in assessing elections among its 57 participating States.

The OSCE PA’s leadership accepted the recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee on Transparency and Reform of the OSCE, led by Francois- Xavier de Donnea (Belgium), that the 1997 agreement be applied to the upcoming election observations in Bulgaria and Albania. The committee has worked since February toward improving co-operation in election observation. The Assembly will evaluate the experiences of those election observation missions at the Annual Session in July in Istanbul.”

“We are all interested in reaching a solution to prevent problems from occurring in the future that we have had in the past,” President Wolfgang Grossruck said. Under the agreement, the Special Co-ordinator, a senior representative of the OSCE PA appointed by the OSCE Chair-in- Office, will lead the short-term observers and deliver the preliminary statement on behalf of the Organization. “It is in the interest of our Assembly to reactivate the agreement and have both parties apply the 1997 agreement in good faith,” de Donnea said. “Reviving the agreement is a good idea and it needs to be done,” Secretary General Spencer Oliver said. “We have always said the agreement is a good one, and we have always complied with the agreement.” De Donnea said the Parliamentary Assembly would be looking for “positive signals” from partners at ODIHR to show a good practice toward strengthening co-operation during election observation missions.

Following the 18 February Presidential Elections in Armenia, the OSCE PA delegation did not participate in the usual press conference organised by ODIHR with the delegations of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe., and issued their own statement at a separate Press Conference.

Source: CEW Editorial Team.