The names of MEPs who have taken part in ‘fake’ election observation activities have been revealed in the European Parliament. Eight have been told they will not be picked for official trips for the remainder of the year and three more have been warned as to their conduct.
The problem of fake observers – those whose attendance simply bolsters the credibility of a flawed election with little pretence at independent observation or adherence to a recognised methodology – is increasing. Often authoritarian regimes will seek to use such observers to drown out the reports of more credible missions or to convince their populations that a flawed election was actually well run.
It is worth pointing out that the MEPs named in the report have responded in various ways, including some who say that their activities were genuine. And whilst it is good that some sanctions have been levelled against those who undertook fake observation activities, a ban of just six months or so is hardly punitive.