Clare Daly and Mick Wallace dispute ‘fake’ election observer allegations
29th June 2021
IRISH MEPS CLARE Daly and Mick Wallace are disputing an assertion that they took part in “fake election-observation trips” to Venezuela and Ecuador, after it was reported that several MEPs have been ‘blacklisted’ by the European Parliament.© Sasko Lazarov Photocall Ireland
The publication ‘EU observer’ reported today that the European Parliament has blacklisted eight MEPs and reprimanded three others for going on what it called ‘fake’ election-observation trips.
Stefanie Schiffer, the head of an NGO European Platform for Democratic Election, which documents fake monitoring, told the publication the practice “undermines” the credibility of the European Parliament, and harms the work of election monitoring.
In a joint-statement from Daly and Wallace to The Journal, the two MEPs said that the reported ban until the end of the year by the European Parliament was a “political stunt” by centre right political groups, and that they would be challenging the decision.
“These were not ‘fake election-observation trips’,” the Independents 4 Change MEPs said. “We made abundantly clear by public announcement at the time that we were not visiting Ecuador or Venezuela with an official election observation mandate.”
A spokesperson for the European Parliament said in a statement that the parliament must select those who are to go on observation missions based on certain criteria.
The Venezuelan elections were held on 6 December, while the Ecuador elections were on 7 February this year.
Daly and Wallace said their decision to attend both elections was due to “a long-standing interest in affairs in both countries”, and opposition to EU and US policy in the region.
“Reportage in Western media on Latin American elections has become increasingly unreliable,” they added.
“We travelled on our own initiative as part of larger delegations of the European left to see for ourselves how these elections were conducted, and to build solidarity with left wing movements in these countries.
Although we regret that the Ecuadorian people did not choose Andrés Arauz as their president, we found the elections to be conducted fairly and impartially, and their results are beyond question.
“We renew our call on the EU to abandon its policy of foreign interference in Latin American democracies, and to respect the decisions of their electorates.”
A spokesperson for the European Parliament told The Journal: “The European Parliament’s Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group (DEG) recalled to all MEPs last Friday that only MEPs appointed by the European Parliament are entitled to represent the House in electoral observations abroad, according to the rules in place.
“The Election Coordination Group agreed that MEPs who haven’t fulfilled with the criteria in place will not participate in any electoral observation missions in 2021.
“This decision binds the DEG and regards the possibility to be added to election observation missions only.”
Electoral-observation missions are carried out by authorities to ensure elections are being carried out fairly and democratically. Ireland nominates observers to missions organised mainly by the EU and the OSCE (through its Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights).
Ireland sends observers on around 12-18 election observation missions per year, for both short term and long-term missions.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, no OSCE or EU missions continued between March and August last year, and Ireland is now considering public health advice to avoid ‘non-essential travel’ when deciding whether election observers should be nominated to take part in election-observing missions.