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ASEAN launches Election Observation Workshop Report 

October 21, 2015

STOCKHOLM/JAKARTA – ASEAN, through the initiative of the Philippines and in cooperation with International IDEA, today launched the report on ASEAN Election Observation at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The report highlights the following:

  • Respect to the state sovereignty, and adherence to the law of the host country, respecting the internationally recognised global standards for domestic election monitoring, and the global principles and codes of conduct for observers.
  • Electoral integrity is a fundamental element of democracy; electoral observers can play a vital role, raising voter confidence, reassurance, providing credible and essential feedbacks before, during the elections, and after the elections are over.
  • EMB independence, voter registration, media freedom, freedom of movement, women’s participation, access for disabled people, minority participation, and use of money in campaigns and political financing are all key issues which may be addressed during electoral cycle implementation and for recognition of credible elections by regional and international community.
  • Some of the key recommendations emerging out of the workshop were:

  • Developing and strengthening ASEAN Network of Election Monitoring Bodies
  • ASEAN EMBs, International IDEA and dialogue partners should open dialogue and engage the AMS High Level Task Force on ASEAN Community Vision 2025 to get election observation expressed within the ASEAN political cooperation agenda.
  • Based on the tentative dates declared by various AMS, Myanmar General Elections on 8 November 2015, the Philippines Presidential and Vice Presidential Elections on 9 May 2016, Indonesian General Elections 2019, and Thailand General Elections sometime in 2017 (undecided) present opportunities to ASEAN and IDEA in putting together a regional framework for elections observation as trials and learning opportunities.
  • Asian Engagement with other EMBs, IDEA could facilitate an Asia Regional experience sharing with other EMBs sometime in 2016, which could provide opportunity for the ASEAN region to both share and learn from other Asian experiences on election observation.
  • Engaging ASEAN & Asian Civil Society, IDEA and ASEAN Secretariat can gradually facilitate the participation as dialogue partners of various groups working at regional, sub-regional and national level for the electoral rights of vulnerable groups, minorities, women, and physically challenged people, ensuring that the right to vote is upheld with the utmost respect by EMBs and the legal framework developed is reflective of the inclusive goal of the ASEAN Political Security Community.
  • The first-ever regional workshop was conducted on 24-25 June 2015 in Manila, the Philippines through the leadership of the Philippines’ Commission on Elections and the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Republic of Korea also lent its valuable assistance to the workshop.

    Officials of election management bodies (EMBs) and Ministries of Foreign Affairs of ASEAN Member States learned about election observation missions of various regional organizations like the Organization of American States OAS, the European Union and African Union.

    Resource persons encouraged ASEAN EMBs and host governments to be open to the possibility of having domestic and international election observation missions (EOMs) and not to view these missions as impinging on sovereignty and interfering in internal affairs of the state.

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