Summary: EU Parliament to observe Palestinian elections (16 January 2006: Strasbourg)
A delegation of MEPs will be travelling to the Palestinian territories to observe the legislative elections scheduled for 25 January. The MEPs, chaired by EP Vice-President Edward McMillan-Scott (EPP-ED, UK), will be on site from 22 January for meetings with candidates and election officials, before deploying to polling stations across the region for election day itself.
Mr McMillan-Scott said: "I look forward to elections in Palestine to the same standard as those we witnessed in last year's presidential election. That was a model for the region, where democracy is largely absent.
We are also looking forward to Palestinians living in East Jerusalem having the same opportunity to vote as their relations elsewhere - and to seeing candidates campaigning freely there.
These elections take place in a highly challenging environment, which we acknowledge. The importance the European Parliament attaches to their successful completion can be seen in its having again authorised a thirty member observation delegation."
Parliament's delegation will be working closely alongside the long-term EU Electoral Observation Mission, which is also led by an MEP, Véronique de Keyser (PES, BE).