Senegal and EU sign poll observation accord

APA-Dakar (Senegal) By Ibrahima Dione

Senegal and the European Union have signed an agreement in Dakar that will allow for the bloc to send observers in next month’s presidential election.

Sidiki Kaba, Senegal’s minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad and Irène Mingasson, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union (EU) in the country, signed the agreement on Monday.

Senegal goes to the polls to elect a new president on 24 February, 2019.

“This signature means a lot to us. We will do everything to ensure that the observation mission that will deploy for 24 February’s presidential polls is conducted work with all the guarantees of security and administrative facility on the entire national territory” Mr. Kaba said.

The head of Senegalese diplomacy added that his country also "intends to organize the deployment of a team of observers throughout the process, including the management of complaints and until the announcement of the official results. It is a guarantee of credibility and transparency of the exercise because this is the way it must be in our country.”

Irene Mingasson, said the EU decided upon the request of Senegal to mobilize an electoral observation mission in the country.

"It is an exercise that we know well and which aims to support the dialogue and cooperation on all the dimensions of this process that is crucial for democracy" she added.

The European diplomat said that the "election observation mission will be led by Elena Valenciano, a European parliamentarian of Spanish citizenship.

Her first visit to Senegal is expected by the end of January.

She further stressed: "Election observation missions are always composed of a group of experts (between 8 and 10 members). They are knowledgeable in electoral matters. The first of them will arrive in Dakar tomorrow afternoon (Tuesday).”

Mingasson added that "they will be joined by long and short term observers who, certainly have experience in the matter, but will be called more as witnesses to this election".

Concluding her remarks, she said that “Senegal will allow experts to have full access as much as possible to all relevant actors in the electoral process.”

Meanwhile Senegal’s Foreign Affairs minister promised that "the recommendations from the observations of the mission of the European Union will be closely looked into by Senegal".

Senegal’s Constitutional Council early on Monday, published a provisional list of five candidates allowed to take part in next month’s presidential election.

It rejected the candidacies of Karim Wade and Khalifa Sall, the latter of which is currently jailed for embezzlement.


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