Bangkok, 22 March 2019
In order to avoid confusion following some recent ambiguous media reports, the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Thailand wishes to clarify that the EU is not fielding an Election Observation Mission (EOM) on the occasion of the Thai parliamentary elections to be held on 24 March 2019.
EU election observation requires a long-term, country-wide presence of an independent EOM which conducts its activities according to a comprehensive methodology in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation. This requires an official invitation from the host country and a lead-in time of four to six months in order to prepare the mission, including the deployment of long-term observers. In the case of the Thai general elections, the EU did not receive such an invitation in the required timeframe.
In the absence of an EOM, the EU Delegation – alongside diplomatic missions of some EU Member States – has registered a number of its diplomatic staff members accredited to Thailand for participation in what is commonly referred to as a "diplomatic watch". This entails visits of accredited persons to polling stations on Election Day only in order to develop a general sense of the conduct of elections, to be used primarily for internal reporting. Such activities are necessarily small both in numbers and geographic scope and therefore do not constitute an "election observation". They are not sufficient for formulating an overall assessment of the electoral process and cannot form the basis of any public statement.
The European Union in Thailand welcomes the holding of elections as a milestone on the country's path back to democracy and wishes all Thai people a peaceful and meaningful Election Day.