Who observes if democracy works? How does election observation work in international organisations? And should there be an election observation procedure within AEGEE? To answer these questions, AEGEE members Alin-Florin Calin (AEGEE-Wien) and Thomas Leszke (AEGEE-Köln) decided to launch the Election Observation Project during Agora Zaragoza. Almost five months later, the first project meeting took place in Köln from the 7th to 9th March. Ten motivated members of the project met to define the different goals of the projects and to discuss further steps.
The team elaborated four different aims of the project. Each of the aims presents a different level of election observation, and are: to have a pool of AEGEE observers that are capable of observing international elections, to create an observations trainings procedure during Agorae, to get AEGEEans involved in domestic elections and to establish an election observation procedure within AEGEE during elections at Agorae and local Agorae.
After a day full of hard work, the project team members joined AEGEE-Aachen and AEGEE-Lviv, who were visiting Aachen, for an European night. This European night took place in a small and cozy bar in the city and was a great way to end the demanding day. The whole team enjoyed the time spent with them and are grateful to the locals. As usual, it was really fun to meet old friends and to make new ones. The first project meeting was a great success and all members left Köln motivated and dedicated to work more for this interesting and demanding project.
Of course the project didn’t stop after the meeting, but will continue to give members of the Network a lot of new opportunities. In weekly Skype meetings, the election observation project is taking the next steps to achieve its aims. Right now, the project is researching how to participate in the European Parliamentary elections in different countries and also the possible involvement of AEGEEans in international observation.
For the Ukrainian presidential elections in May 2014 the team is working in cooperation with the Eastern Partnership Project in order to accreditate our organisation to be able to send observers. At Agora Patra, team members will be conducting election observation during the Agora elections and show the results to the Network.
If you want to be part of the Election Observation Project, do not hesitate to join the EOP mailing list or check the Facebook page.
Written by Julia Krebs from AEGEE-Osnabrück and Nikolay Kazantsev from AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg.