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Surveillance is “limited” to the referendum

A mission funded by a centre of The Hague with no experience in elections wants to monitor the vote

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Surveillance is “limited” to the referendum

A mission funded by a centre of The Hague with no experience in elections wants to monitor vote

The Dutch ambassador Daan Everts has made business cards as head of International Observers to Catalan referendum. There he says that its official name is “Mission Limited International Observation”. The adjective important is last: “it Is a mission that is limited in duration, in coverage and in number of observers,” says Everts.

The usual resources in a mission of observation in an environment polarized and contentious as one that lives in Catalonia are much higher: “When EU makes an election observation, a recruit between 100 and 200 observers to be of short duration and about 60 observers of long duration. The missions bigger ones can have up to 400 members,” says Rubén Ruiz-Rufino, professor, King's College London. The mission of Catalan now has six members and y could get anor 14 days before 1 October.

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Everts is not clear y are going to have to come. Repeated several times during conversation that it may be that nothing comes to be held: “The mission will end on 6 October or sooner if re is a referendum, because we don't know if re will be,” he says.

The smallness of delegation has to do with resources. The mission of Everts is solely funded by think-tank Dutch The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS). The referendum law states that Catalan Government will not pay any expenses of observers. The HCSS has never promoted a mission of similar observation. This first time, nor did it with much anticipation: “we Contacted Daan a month ago,” says Paul Sinning, executive director of HCSS.

The ambassador Everts has a resume impeccable in observation missions with international organizations. This time you take mission as something “professionally interesting”: “it Is a great challenge. Many people do not dare to accept this charge. We have to do in a few weeks what we do in two months with hundreds of people.” For him, origin of money is a aspect minor: “I don't care where money comes from. I'm not in pocket of any Government. We do not have any instructions. Do not accept”, she adds.

Even so, why do you want a think tank, Dutch spent tens of thousands of euros in finance a mission of international observers in Catalan referendum when he has never done something like that? Everts suggests that it is to make academic work thanks to expertise on ground. Sinning admits that “it might be a good idea.” But your response implies that not what had been raised before. Sinning does not give furr explanations about ir motives.

The team of Everts is not in Barcelona to analyze in detail validity of electoral process, but its dynamics: “The fact that referendum is prohibited is a very important information. Do not judge it. It is something that we observe,” he says. “The presence of observers does not legitimise process,” he adds.Typical organizations in observation missions of international institutions depend on States, European Union, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Organization of American States or African Union. These entities work only with state Governments. No is involved in process of Catalan language.

An option for Catalonia would have been a private institution with solvency. The most famous is Carter Center. “If I had come to Carter Center would change game,” says Ruiz-Rufino. “Jimmy Carter might have come to Catalonia. Their protocols of action about role do not have institutional restrictions of OSCE or EU,” he adds. But it has not come. The president of Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont, visited in April in Atlanta by former president Carter. The Carter Center n issued a statement where he said that he was not going to get involved in referendum.

David Carroll, director of Democracy program of Carter Center, now explains ir strict conditions to participate in an election: "The Center gives priority to choices that represent a critical transition or challenge for country, where Center can help to make elections a success and where host Government, main political parties and electoral authority to require or appreciate our involvement." The Carter Center, in addition, you need an official invitation at least 4 to 6 months before election. It is much more time than he had Everts to prepare your plan.

If institutions are more usual in se processes were not going to observe consultation, anor option was a solitary figure, with credibility as ambassador Everts. Everts insists on “independence fierce” he and his team —who prefers not to reveal identity— but his verdict will not pass test of international validity: “Surely it will do so with a methodology that is good, but does not have controls, infrastructure or credibility of international agencies”, says Ruiz-Rufino.

The mission of Everts is not only one in Catalonia. The new zealand Helena Catt, consultant and former executive director of Electoral Commission of New Zealand, directs anor call, according to press note of government, International Electoral Expert Research Team.


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