Keeping the momentum
A number of positive developments have occurred in this regard. The European External Action Service (EEAS) has deployed follow-up missions, led by the Chief Observer of the original election observation mission, and the European Commission has funded projects to follow up on elections.
Parliament's post-election efforts
In-line with the EU efforts, the European Parliament has strengthened the parliamentary aspects of its own follow-up.
Parliament's "post-election" activities are led by the MEP who acted as Chief Observer in the partner country.
When elections were observed by the European Parliament, post-election cooperation is foreseen for some recommendations from the election observation mission through "parliamentary electoral dialogues". You can read more about them here.
As many recommendations require legislative changes, local parliaments play an important role in the post-election period.
In other countries, the European Parliament focuses on specific areas that the newly elected parliaments will need to address.
Two visits of newly elected MPs and civil servants from the Gambia's National Assembly were organised in early 2018 in Brussels.
These visits followed significant democratic developments in the country: presidential elections in December 2016, followed by the April 2017 parliamentary elections, which were observed by the European Parliament.
During their 2018 study visits, Gambian participants held lively discussions with MEPs, including
- Miroslav Poche, Chief Observer to the Gambia,
- Jean Lambert, Head of the European Parliament's election observation delegation, and
- Linda McAvan, Chair of the European Parliament's Committee on Development.
Exchanging best practices on a comprehensive set of topics, participants touched on:
- the role of a parliament,
- the function of parliamentary committees,
- the budget process,
- relations with civil society and the electorate,
- human rights,
- gender equality and empowering women in parliaments,
- building coalitions and consensus.
The European Parliament observed elections in Jordan in 2016. These were viewed as part of the country's ongoing efforts to establish an effective multi-party democracy, which Parliament strongly supports.
Jordan has reformed its electoral system by adopting a new electoral law, and the EU has launched a new comprehensive democratic governance programme to support further reforms.
The country's reforms include measures to strengthen its House of Representatives. To solidify these changes, the European Parliament has shared its technical expertise on electronic voting in plenary sessions, and has organised seminars for Jordanian parliamentary staff, as was recommended by the EU observation mission.
The most recent seminar, held in December 2017, provided participants insights on issues including
- controlling the budget,
- parliamentary question mechanisms,
- the role of political groups,
- institutional communication and
- legislative drafting.
Following the general elections in Sri Lanka in August 2015 and the follow-up mission by Chief Observer Cristian Preda (EPP, Romania), a study visit to Brussels for Sri Lankan MPs was organised in April 2017.
The visit focused on the committee system in the European Parliament and how this system plays a vital role in empowering parliaments.
Particular emphasis was placed on budgets, and on budgetary control committees and their financial oversight role.
The programme of the visit was developed in close cooperation with Sri Lanka's parliament.
During one of several meetings, visitors held discussions with MEPs Preda and Ignacio Corrao (EFDD, Italy), who headed the European Parliament observation delegation to Sri Lanka in 2015.