The Council of Europe launched its fourth Mission (CEEOM IV) to observe the Kosovo elections, per the invitation of UNMiK. The observation Mission was carried out in 3 phases : observation of voter registration, observation of election campaigns, and observation of the casting and counting of votes.
A team of 14 long-term observers took up their duties on Monday 9 August 2004. Working in teams of two, they spread across Kosovo and deliver comprehensive observations of election activities in their respective regions. Two teams were based in Prishtina and two in Mitrovica, and one team in each of Gjilan, Prizren, and Peja/Pec.
The long-term observers participated in two days of intensive training on 6-7 August 2004, with presentations by KFOR and the OSCE on such topics as Kosovan politics, election day procedures, and cultural diversity. The training was organised by the observation Mission's core team, whose office was opened on 15 July. Those headquarters will remain in operation until early November, when the Mission will culminate in a report to UNMiK on the election process and a certification of the election results.
Some of the observers have as much as 30 years of experience in election administration and others have extensive experience with international organisations and NGOs.
Hailing from countries as varied as Canada, France, Finland, Hungary, Georgia, and the UK, they bring to their work a diversity of experiences in democratic elections.
In the final phase of the observation process, these 14 long-term observers were joined by about 100 short-term observers ; together, they observed the casting and counting of ballots.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe was invited to send a group of short-term observers to monitor the final phases of the electoral process.
"We will be co-operating with Kosovans as well as the OSCE because this time the election will be mainly organised by local election officials," explained Head of Mission Andrey Tehov. "This is an important opportunity for Kosovans to show the international community that they can organise elections for themselves.''
Mr. Tehov is a diplomat from Bulgaria, where he is Head of the Department of Human Rights in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has experience with UN missions in Africa (Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo). "We hope the elections will be free, fair, and transparent, and that all communities will fully and peacefully participate."