Since the independence referendum in 1999, the EU has regularly accompanied electoral processes in Timor-Leste by deploying observation missions, the last in 2012. This reflects the EU's long-term commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in the country.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, has appointed Ms. Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer.
The High Representative stated: "Timor-Leste has taken significant steps in strengthening itsdemocratic institutions since its independence referendum in 1999, to the benefit of its people. This year’s elections will be the first major elections without the presence and assistance of the United Nations’ Integrated Mission. The European Union’sElection Observation Mission, under the leadership of Chief Observer Bilbao Barandica, will provide an important contribution to this electoral process.”
The Chief Observer, Ms. Bilbao Barandica, declared: "I am honored to lead the EU EOM to Timor-Leste. I trust all stakeholders will contribute to ensure that the upcoming elections will further consolidate the country's track record for well-run, credible and peaceful elections."
The EOM Core Team of seven EU election analysts arrived in Timor-Leste on 12 February and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process, and to prepare a comprehensive final report. As of 20 February, the Core Team will be joined by 16 long-term observers who will be deployed across the country, and later, for the legislative elections, by an additional 10 long-term observers. A delegation of the European Parliament and Timor-Leste-based diplomats from EU Member States may also reinforce the mission on the election day. The EU EOM looks forward to cooperate with other international observation missions that have endorsed the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.
Shortly after the Presidential and Legislative elections, the mission will issue a preliminary statement of its findings at a press conference in Dili. A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented at a later stage, after the finalization of the whole electoral process.