In Tagikistan per la democrazia

Il presidente di turno dell’OSCE, Ivica Dacic, mi ha nominato coordinatrice speciale della missione di monitoraggio elettorale in Tajikistan. Domenica prossima si svolgeranno le elezioni parlamentari. L’OSCE ha inviato 150 osservatori di breve termine provenienti da 37 Paesi e 62 parlamentari, per verificare che le elezioni si svolgano correttamente. Saranno inoltre presenti diversi membri del Parlamento Europeo.

Il nuovo Parlamento dovrà immediatamente confrontarsi con i serissimi problemi che affliggono il Paese, dalla lotta al terrorismo e al traffico di droga, alla drammatica situazione economica che vive il Paese. Oggi ho incontrato i 150 osservatori che domenica prossima andranno a monitorare le tante sezioni elettorali dislocate sui territori.
Di seguito alcuni spunti del mio intervento.

It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to Dushanbe. Thank you for coming.
As you may know, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the Serbian Foreign Minister, has asked me to function as his Special Co-ordinator and leader for this election observation mission. As a Member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and Member of Parliament in my home country of Italy, I am particularly pleased to fulfill this role for such an important event.
I was fortunate to also be here in Tajikistan in 2013 to observe the Presidential election, which set an important backdrop to these elections. However, both the changes that have taken place since, and the nature of these parliamentary elections set them apart from 2013.
The very challenging security situation to the south, troubled relations with neighbours, and the severe impact of the economic downturn have continued to impact Tajikistan. Indeed this last aspect, especially considering the high number of Tajik citizens that are resident in Russia and dependent upon the economy there, may have gotten even worse since I was last here.
There is little doubt that Tajikistan finds itself in a difficult neighbourhood.
Some would argue that these difficulties may hinder the ability for democratic development. But I say quite the contrary: these difficulties are exactly why Tajikistan MUST make progress. For the long term stability of this country, it is important that voters have the opportunity to express their will at the ballot box and give a clear mandate to political leaders here.
Looking around this room, it is clear that this election is not only important in the eyes of Tajikistan, but also in the eyes of all of our countries that have sent us to be here. The expense and effort that our governments and parliaments have put into this mission are a recognition of the importance of Sunday’s election, and a strong show of solidarity with the Tajik people.
Many people will be working long hours on Sunday to give the people of Tajikistan an opportunity to vote. The commitment of all of these people should be applauded, and as observers we have to match their dedication with our own hard work.
As observers, we have a great obligation as the eyes and ears – and the voice – of the international community. Having not only run in elections, but having observed numerous elections, I can tell you that this is likely to be tiring. Your hard work, energy, and concentration are greatly appreciated. I know that I can count on you all to maintain a positive and professional approach to all that you do here.
The input that each of you provides will contribute to the OSCE assessment as to whether these elections are held in accordance with the democratic commitments that Tajikistan has agreed to. In other words: do these elections genuinely reflect the will of the people?

On Monday, I will be delivering the post-election statement, the day after we have all spent long hours observing. As you may know, this mission is a joint undertaking of several bodies. Within the OSCE, the ODIHR and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly work closely together. In addition, we often join efforts with parliamentary colleagues from the European Parliament, thereby working to ensure a unified voice on behalf of the international community.
As elected representatives, my parliamentary colleagues and I have a particular interest in assessing whether these elections are indeed democratic. When our parliamentary perspective is added together with your input and the expertise of ODIHR’s long-term observers, the OSCE is able to provide important leadership in election observation in the OSCE area.
Let me say a particular ‘thank you’ to the ODIHR core team headed by Miklos Haraszti and to the long term observers, whose support has been instrumental in bringing all of us together here today.
Finally, I urge you to stay safe and vigilant. Please maintain regular touch with your LTOs and exercise reasonable caution.
But please also take the time to reflect on our work. This election is an opportunity for the citizens of Tajikistan to shape the future of the country, and our job is to support them in this process.
As you meet with election officials and voters on Sunday, I hope you will have the opportunity to explain that our work here is a show of solidarity with them and their democratic aspirations.
Thank you for your time.