EU sends 28 long-term election monitors to El Salvador

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El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren participates in a graduation ceremony at the Command of Doctrine and Military Education in San Salvador, El Salvador, July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

SAN SALVADOR (NNN-EFE) – The European Union’s Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) is deploying in 14 of El Salvador’s provinces 28 “long-term” monitors to supervise and evaluate the presidential elections scheduled for Feb 3.

The deputy chief observer for the EUEOM, Alexander Gray, told reporters that Salvadoran authorities and civil society have reiterated that the European entity constitutes an “important and constructive contribution” to the electoral process.

It is expected that the monitoring activities will result in a “significant contribution” for the electoral process and for “strengthening the country’s democracy,” he said.

Mr Gray said that “on dates close to the election,” 28 “short-term” observers will be added so that a total of about 80 observers from EU countries and Norway will be on hand to monitor election activities, including the vote.

The EUEOM official also said that the central team, comprising nine analysts, arrived in San Salvador on Dec. 26, adding that the mission will remain in the Central American country “until the conclusion of the electoral process.”

The observers will conduct a detailed analysis of all aspects of the election based on “long-term observation,” Mr Gray said, adding that the mission will make public a “preliminary statement of their findings” during a press conference to be held in San Salvador and approximately two months after the elections a final report will be presented that will include a “detailed analysis of the process and recommendations.”

He also noted that the mission is “exclusively” financed by the EU budgets and the observers’ participation comes at the invitation of the Salvadoran government and its Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE).

Competing in the Feb. 3 presidential election will be leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front candidate Hugo Martinez; conservative Arena candidate Carlos Calleja; Gana alliance candidate Nayib Bukele; and VAMOS candidate Josue Alvarado.

The TSE has said on the social networks that more than 5.2 million Salvadorans are eligible to vote.

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