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Poland Refuses OSCE Election Monitors

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2007-09-27 18:44:22 / News read 2898 reading
The Polish government has refused a request to let OSCE election observers monitor its elections on 21 October, dismissing such an obligation as "inappropriate".

A request by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to send observers to the upcoming elections is seen as "inappropriate", said Polish Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga, who added that Poland was a "stable democracy".

"We have nothing to hide and elections will be conducted in a democratic fashion," Fotyga said on 22 September.

Inviting observers from the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is not only standard procedure but an obligation for member states.

The Warsaw-based ODIHR then decides whether or not it is necessary to send a group of monitors. With 56 members throughout Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE is the world's largest regional security organisation. It also plays a key role in monitoring elections and upholding democratic standards.

The Polish parliament had called for elections earlier this month, following a major government crisis which led to the break-up of the governing coalition (see EurActiv 31/08/07).

Talking to EurActiv, ODIHR spokesperson Urdur Gunnarsdottir said: "We are in contact with the Polish authorities and we are still hoping to get an invite. We made it very clear that we want to be invited."

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