International election observation plays an important role in the promotion of democratisation, human rights and the rule of law. The Department maintains a roster of observers who are available to participate in election observation missions. We nominate observers to missions organised, in the main, by the EU and the OSCE.
On average, the Department sends observers on 12-18 election observation missions (EOMs) per year. Short Term Observers (STOs) are generally in country for 10-14 days, while Long Term Observers (LTOs) can spend 60 days or more observing the election process.
Since March 2020, challenges arising from the global public health pandemic have had significant implications for participation in EU and OSCE EOMs. Between the outbreak of the pandemic in March and 30 August 2020, neither the OSCE nor the EU deployed election observation missions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, recognising the challenges arising from the pandemic, the small number of calls from the EU and the OSCE have been configured as limited EOMs for LTOs.
We are monitoring the situation closely, including ongoing liaison with the relevant offices of the EU and the OSCE. However, in the context of COVID-19 measures in place in Ireland, including in relation to international travel, we are not nominating volunteer observers for missions at this time. As the Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid, Colm Brophy T.D., made clear in the Seanad recently, while acknowledging the roster as demonstrating Ireland's contribution to the promotion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, "due to the Covid-19 pandemic, public health advice is to avoid non-essential travel. This obliges the Department to pay particular attention to the risks to volunteer observers and to the many people they will be in contact with arising from overseas travel, compounded by the extensive interactions with local populations and observers from many other countries”.
We look forward to returning to nominating observers when public health conditions allow.
Past Election Observation Missions
In January and February 2020, Ireland sent one LTO and two STOs to observe the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. In 2019 Ireland sent 57 individual observers to EU or OSCE election observation missions in: Albania, Belarus, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Malawi, Moldova, Mozambique, North Macedonia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ukraine. A listing of missions from 2013-2020 is available here.
Election Observation Roster
The current election roster was established in January 2019. The roster selection process has now concluded. A number of applicants contacted the Department with questions about the 2018 roster mustering process. Further information is available in the Composite Response. The Department does not accept applications for election observer missions from members of the public who have not been shortlisted to the roster.
The next roster mustering process is not expected to be launched before 2022. Details will be made available on www.dfa.ie in due course. For data protection reasons we do not hold contact details of persons who wish to be notified about future roster mustering processes, but you can keep in touch by following us on Twitter at @DFAT_Irl.
Election Observers (31 December 2020)
A listing of the elections to which the Department has sent observers since 2013 is available here. We will update this listing periodically.Download PDF (474KB)
Election observation by independent observers has become an important way of supporting countries during the transition to democracy.
Protecting human rights
Learn more about Ireland’s commitment to human rights