Based on a shortfall in the number of short-term observers provided by OSCE states due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel and health restrictions, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has decided to limit its missions in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to long-term observation. According to a statement issued by the organization, three missions will continue their work and deliver preliminary assessments of the electoral processes after each election day.
“Following invitations, ODIHR deployed Election Observation Missions (EOMs) for the forthcoming elections in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, starting from mid-September. ODIHR EOMs comprise a core team of experts and long-term observers seconded by OSCE participating States. In line with its standard methodology for EOMs, ODIHR requested states to second short-term observers to join these EOMs closer to election day.
The extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and existing travel restrictions throughout the OSCE region have negatively affected the ability of the OSCE participating States to second short-term observers. This has resulted in a significant shortfall, which makes infeasible the deployment of short-term observers in sufficient numbers for meaningful observation of election day procedures, especially given the logistical difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Accordingly, ODIHR has decided to change the format of the three deployed observation activities from EOMs to Limited Election Observation Missions (LEOMs), with core teams of experts and long-term observers.” – the statement reads.