EU to run Palestinian elections

Series Title
Series Details 05/10/95, Volume 1, Number 03
Publication Date 05/10/1995
Content Type

Date: 05/10/1995

By Elizabeth Wise

THE European Union has taken a significant step towards fulfilling its ambition of becoming a world political power following a decision to give it - and not the United Nations - responsibility for overseeing long-awaited Palestinian elections.

The moves comes in the wake of the accord struck by PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Israel's Shimon Peres last month, extending Palestinian rule to the West Bank and Gaza.

For the first time, the EU will be in charge of organising and overseeing an election which will lead to the formation of a new state. The EU election unit will be constituted next week (7 to 10 October) in Madrid. The unit of 35 people will supervise some 700 EU monitors from the EU, the Middle East, the United States, Japan and Canada. Carl Lidbom, 69, Sweden's former Minister of Justice and ambassador to Paris will head the team.

Eduardo Jimenez of DGI, the Directorate-General in charge of external relations, said the election would put the EU on the map as a major political force.

“This is a new role, and a very important role as it gives the European Union the role it deserves by its implication in the peace process,” he said. “It's important for us to enhance our visibility in the peace process.”

The PLO's representative in Brussels Chawki Armali said the role of election overseer befits the EU's close involvement in the peace process and reflects the Union's massive spending in the region. The EU has set aside 470 million ecu for the formerly-occupied territories for the years 1994-1998, nearly outspending the US and Japan combined.

The EU asked for the job and, after playing a large role in elections in South Africa, Mozambique and Angola, has good qualifications for it. But the Union may have won the job by default, as Israel objected to UN-run elections. Israel regards the UN as pro-Palestinian.

Subject Categories
Countries / Regions