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EU Election Observer Mission Urges Timely Electoral Reforms Ahead of 2026 Zambia Elections

The European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) is advising the Zambian government to expedite electoral reform initiatives well in advance of the 2026 elections. 

Maria Arena, Chief Observer of the EU EOM, emphasized the importance of early implementation to ensure a fair and level playing field for all contestants, aligning with Zambia’s international and regional commitments.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka today, Ms. Arena expressed concerns about last-minute changes, noting that they can raise suspicions even when intended for the citizens’ benefit.

The EU EOM has proposed 22 recommendations to enhance Zambia’s electoral process in line with international standards, with only two recommendations enacted so far.

“In the spirit of the strong partnership between the EU and Zambia, we welcome the achievements made in implementing some 2021 EU EOM recommendations but urge further action for significant progress on legal reform before the upcoming elections,” stated Ms. Arena.

She highlighted the positive step taken with the passing of the Access to Information Act, considering it a move in the right direction. Ms. Arena also emphasized the Mission’s interest in how the law will be implemented in practice.

EU Ambassador to Zambia, Karolina Stasiak, underscored that democracy goes beyond activities before and during election day, extending into the post-election period. Stasiak noted that the EU has collaborated with the Zambian government to enhance democracy by improving the election process.

Dimitra Ioannou, an Expert from the EU Electoral Observer Mission, clarified that the EU is not imposing recommendations on the government. Instead, the government retains the right to decide whether to implement them.

The EU EOM’s call for accelerated electoral reforms reflects a commitment to strengthening Zambia’s democratic processes, ensuring transparency, and fostering public confidence in the electoral system ahead of the 2026 elections.

Source: ZANIS

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