Statement by Ms Laima Andrikiene
Head of the European Parliament election observation delegation for the parliamentary elections in Mongolia of 29 June 2016
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
I am Laima Andrikiene, Member of the European Parliament from Lithuania, and it is my pleasure to have this opportunity to speak to you today.
I have had the honour to lead a Delegation composed of six Members of the European Parliament from five different countries and five different political groups, accompanied by four staff members, to observe the parliamentary elections that have taken place in Mongolia.
Let me at the start express gratitude to the Mongolian authorities for their invitation to observe these elections and their excellent cooperation with us in this process. I am particularly pleased as this was the first time that the European Parliament has observed elections in your country and it was also the first time that I personally have come here.
The European Parliament, the only directly-elected body of the EU, represents 500 million European citizens and is committed to strengthening democracy all over the world. Election observation is one of our key foreign policy instruments in this process.
Prior to Election Day, we met in Ulaanbaatar with the election authorities, political parties, media and civil society and of course with our Member State ambassadors. In these meetings we familiarised ourselves with the situation in Mongolia ahead of the elections.
On Election Day we observed voting in various polling stations across the country, from the opening to the closing of activities, as well as the vote count. We divided into three teams which were deployed in Ulaanbaatar, in Baganuur and in Darkhan, visiting both urban and rural areas.
I would like to make some specific remarks:
- As a Delegation, we were integrated within the framework of an International Election Observation Mission. I would like to thank my colleagues from the ODIHR for our excellent cooperation during the Mission.
- The European Parliament delegation fully supports and endorses the preliminary findings and conclusions of the Observer Mission.
- We were pleased to see that voting took place in a calm and peaceful manner with a high turnout. This was a genuinely competitive contest with no certainty as to which party was going to win.
- I would also like to underline that we were impressed by the large presence and active involvement of observers from civil society and the political parties on Election Day.
- We were pleased to observe that women were so active at the local level in the polling stations. We very much look forward to this also being the case in the near future at the higher levels of the election administration. This, of course, also applies to the Parliament and to Mongolian political life in general.
- I should also note that some elements of the last minute changes to the electoral legislation cause us concern – not least the fact that the 150.000 Mongolian citizens living outside the country, including diplomats, were prevented from voting.
- In this context, we look forward to the final OSCE/ODIHR report and the recommendations it will contain. The European Parliament attaches great significance to these recommendations and will pay full attention to their implementation.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that the EU places great importance on its partnership with Mongolia, which is based on joint respect for our common values of human rights and democracy. I was pleased to have the opportunity to underline this message to His Excellency the President, whom I had the honour to meet yesterday.
I should also like to stress that we all look forward to the early ratification of the EU-Mongolia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement which will ensure even closer relations between the EU and Mongolia.
Moreover the European Parliament appreciates its close institutional cooperation with the Mongolian legislature, notably through its regular inter parliamentary meetings. Our Parliament looks forward to continuing this collaboration and to supporting democracy and the process of reform, which must be for the benefit of the people of Mongolia.
We applaud the fact that Mongolia is a functioning democracy – which is a very special thing in this region of the world. We are determined to cooperate with you along this journey.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Ulaan Baatar, 30 June 2016.