• Secretary General Office - Secretariat of Election Affairs
Department Formation
  • Overview

    The League of Arab States (LAS) began its work in the area of election observation in the early nineties in view of the increase in international concern over this matter due to its critical role in enhancing transparency and neutrality. LAS submitted numerous observation delegations in response to requests of the region's country which welcomed international observation over their elections. Consequently, LAS has earned great experience in this area, which in turn has enhanced its staff experience in the area of election observation.

    Establishment of Elections Observation Secretariat

    In light of the great concern of LAS towards consolidation of democratic approaches and state institution building in accordance with the peoples' free will, and in view of the reform of the pan-Arab action system and the increase in requests of member states and non-member states for LAS Secretariat's participation in their elections observation process, particularly during the period 2004-2013, there appeared a pressing need for the establishment of an institutional body concerned with elections observation in LAS. Therefore, in 2013 Dr. Nabil Elaraby decided to create a new secretariat called "Secretariat of Election Observation Affairs" within the main LAS Secretariat structure.


Mission
    • Through participation in election observation processes, LAS seeks to evaluate the application of the laws adopted by each country in the electoral processes, the translation of the peoples free will in the election process and that these processes are in line with the approved international standards, aiming to consolidation of democracy and stability in its member states.

    • Through its coordination with the leading international organizations in this area, in particular the UN and the EU, the Secretariat of Elections Observation Affairs seeks to convene advanced workshops in order to accredit a larger number of LAS well trained staff who will in turn to provide training sessions in the area of elections observation process in member states that request so, thus contributing to capacity building enhancement of LAS staff in this area. However, the Secretariat has not been able to undertake this role due to its fact that its focus on only the election observation process. In this regard and in cooperation with the UNDP, the Secretariat of Elections Observation Affairs has held a number of advanced workshops in the area of elections monitoring, such as:

    • LAS staff trainers workshops through which 8 trainers from LAS members were fully accredited in addition to 15 other members who were partially accredited.

    • In implementation of LAS Ministerial Council Resolution (7961) of 13/9/2015, a forum for the elections management bodies in the Arab states, was held for the first time in LAS Secretariat during the period 9-11/5/2016. Representatives from elections management bodies in all Arab states participated in this forum except Lebanon, Syria and Oman, in addition to representatives from a number of leading regional and international organizations in the field of elections monitoring. The forum aimed to exchange of views and best practices as well as to establish institutional cooperation ties among all the elections management bodies in the Arab states.

    • Advanced workshops for training of LAS short-term observers in cooperation with the EU election observation and democracy support unit.


Target
  • The Division of Election Observation and International Cooperation undertakes the following tasks:

    • Observation of different types of elections including presidential and parliamentary elections and referenda in requesting countries.

    • Setting up of the schedule of elections to be held throughout the year.

    • Preparations of elections observation missions in coordination with the LAS concerned departments, in addition to all the logistical and technical arrangements in coordination with concerned bodies in the countries in which the elections are taking place.

    • Update of observation forms in accordance with electoral laws and rules adopted by the country.

    • Organization of orientation sessions for the observers prior to the mission to inform them of all the details of the observation mission and of the elections laws and rules, as well as of observers' rights and duties.

    • Drafting initial statements and final reports of the election observation missions.

    • Coordination with regional and international organizations on cooperation with LAS the area of election observation, and proposals of activities and programmes.

    • Performance evaluation of observers to be added to observers database.

    • Participation in election observation regular regional meetings and conferences to exchange views and best practices with leading organizations.

    • Enhance cooperation with election observation regional and international organizations : UNDP, EU, OIC and the International Foundation of Electoral Systems.

    During the past years, LAS has achieved a big leap in election observation area and  has so far participated in 75 election observation processes in 21 countries, including presidential, parliamentary elections and referenda. Twelve of which are Arab countries: Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Comoros, Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, Mauritania. Eight of these countries are non-Arab: Ecuador, Eritrea, Lithuania, Belorussia, Chechenia, Georgia, India, Ethiopia. The number of LAS participating observers reached 1950.

    Seeking to develop its election observation technological working instruments, the Secretariat of Election Observation Affairs acquiesced an innovative tool used by observers to fill in the forms on tablets through an application that receives observations updating them constantly during the voting and screening procedures, which are in turn converted to data and charts, thus facilitating the procedure of obtaining the initial indicators and outcome of the electoral process, and enhances the credibility and integrity of the elections observers reports.

    Following the path of the EU and other organizations, the Secretariat of Election Observation Affairs publishes the League of Arab States Handbook on election observation.

    Seeking to continue development of LAS election observation system and to legalize its methods in this area in line with international instruments, on 19/8/2015, LAS endorsed the "Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation and the Code of Conduct of International Election Observers", which is considered one of the most important legal documents endorsed by numerous regional and international organizations concerned with election observation, i.e UN, EU and AOU, LAS becoming the fiftieth organization endorsing the Declaration.

    The Secretariat of Election Observation Affairs created an institutional memory including database of election observation missions so as to provide data, documents and reports concerned with LAS election observation missions and its activities in this regard.

    The Electoral Assistance and Technical Support Division undertakes the following tasks:

    The Secretariat of Election Observation Affairs has elaborated a progressive road map that aims to enhance LAS Secretariat staff capacity in election observation missions by providing them with training support and with election observation information and state-of-the-art instruments, thus contributing to increasing their efficiency in the area of election observation.

    The Division seeks to create a highly trained technical staff to enable them to undertake a major role in area of technical assistance, electoral support, capacity building of electoral bodies of LAS member states, particularly, those countries that are undergoing the phase of electoral institution capacity building. The electoral assistance offered to these member states electoral bodies consists of submission of electoral assistance experts, acquiescence of electoral material and training of electoral process staff among other services.


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