Election observers play a vital constructive role in ensuring fair, peaceful, free and democratic election. They can observe the election process conducted at the constituency and polling stations, representing various public organs.
As it is declared in the Electoral Law of Ethiopia Amendment Proclamation No. 532/2007, the election observers can be categorized in four parts.
1. Domestic Election Observers
2. Foreign Election Observers
3. Public Election Observers
4. Representatives of Political and Private candidates.
Domestic Election Observers
Interested domestic observers may observe the Election process upon the issuance of license from the Board and fulfilling the requirements proclaimed in articles 79, 80, and 81 of the Election Law of Ethiopia Amendment Proclamation No. 532/2007.
Foreign Election Observers
According to Articles 78/2 and 81/2 of the Election Law, the government may invite International Observers as deemed necessary and the eligible foreign observers must perform their duty in full compliance with the laws of the country, by respecting the sovereignty of the state and in accordance with the directives issued by the Board.
Public Election Observers
In accordance with the Election Law, a public election observers committee shall be established at constituency and polling station level. Accordingly, each polling station will have five public observers who shall be elected from among residents of the polling station, while each constituency election office will have three public observers elected from among the polling stations' election observers established in the constituency. Pursuant to the "Public Observers and Candidates Representatives. Executive Directive, No. 3/2008 (Amended)" issued by the Board the objective of establishing the election observers is to enable follow up and observation of the election process of the elector through their representatives.
- The public election observers are established to serve the public in observing the Election process at all levels. Thus, in accordance with the election schedule, public observer shall report at their respective place of assignment, to follow up and observe:
- The registration of electors;
- The verification of candidature endorsement signature;
- The registration of aspiring candidates, screening of candidates, selection of candidature symbol and publicizing of candidates;
- The casting of votes, counting of votes, summing up of votes and publicizing the result there of.
- Where designated as members of a complaints committee, they shall attend to their duty thereof, in accordance with the Election Law and Directive issued by the Board.
- They shall write down and sign their observation, as on the various electoral forms and documents or in the form of minutes.
Political party candidates or independent runners shall have the right to follow-up the electoral process, through their representatives. Hence, any political party or private candidate can assign one fixed representative to each polling station under the constituency for which he/she runs. In addition, each political organization or private candidate may assign not more than five mobile observers to a constituency. The representatives shall respect the Electoral Law and sign and respect the Code of Ethics for Representatives issued by the Board.