The OSCE/ODIHR team has been able to conduct an in-depth impartial assessment of the Cyprus 2018 Presidential Election during its three-week long mission in Cyprus, head of mission Ambassador Urszula Gacek said, as their mission on the island finished.
She told the Cyprus News Agency in an interview that a report will be prepared, which will be sent to the Cypriot authorities and other election stakeholders within around eight weeks after the election and it will assess implementation of legislation pertaining to the campaign, campaign financing, and media regulations, as well as some other aspects of electoral process.
“The OSCE/ODIHR team, according to its methodology, has been able to conduct an in-depth impartial assessment of the Cyprus 2018 presidential election during its three-week long mission in Cyprus. That is the job we have a mandate to do,” she said.
Apart from assessment, the report will offer recommendations for improvements, based on international commitments, standards and good practice.
The report will be made public, as this is ODIHR standard methodology. “It is then up to the authorities to decide which recommendations they will implement,” Gacek noted.
The formats of missions deployed vary according to an initial assessment.
Depending on the needs identified, missions may take the format of full or limited observation with international observers deployed on polling day, in addition to an expert core team looking at all aspects of the electoral process starting from the legal framework, candidate and voter registration, campaign financing, media coverage of the campaign, safeguards for people with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups and finally the conduct on election day itself.
“In the case of this year’s presidential election in Cyprus, a core team of six international experts was deployed in an election assessment mission. Our small team did, however, visit polling stations and tabulation centres during the election, in addition to carrying out systematic analysis of the points mentioned above,” she told CNA.
The ambassador said this format was decided because “OSCE/ODIHR noted that while a number of our previous recommendations had been implemented and recent amendments have enhanced some aspects of electoral law, there were nevertheless some inconsistencies and gaps in the electoral legal framework, particularly concerning the conduct of the campaign, campaign finance and media coverage. It was felt that an external assessment could be useful, focusing on these areas, but also including an assessment of all other aspects of the election process, as is the norm.”
The election assessment mission format, she added, has been used in a number of OSCE participating states, most recently in the Czech Republic, Austria, Malta and will also be used in upcoming elections in Italy and Turkmenistan.
The mission is expected to leave Cyprus on Tuesday.