IFES Technical Assistance to the UNTAES Mission in Eastern Slavonia, April-June 1997
In March of 1997, the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) sent four technical specialists to assist the United Nations Transitional Authority in Eastern Slavonia (UNT AES) in their administration of Municipal Elections and Elections of Representatives to the House of the Counties for the Croatian Parliament throughout the Osijec-Baranja and Vukovar-Sirmiurn regions.
One of the last territories to be turned over after settlements in the Dayton Peace Accords, Eastern Slavonia is made up of a largely ethnic Serb population. Under the terms of the Erdut Agreement, detailing the process by which the region would be returned to Croatian administration and security, a transitionary military/civilian presence of the United Nations would organize elections, assist in their conduct and certify the results. These elections, seen as a means of stabilization for the area, were required to be held prior to a formal.
At the request of UNTAES, IFES provided four specialists in the following fields:
Election Administration and Training - IFES' Ann Gardner worked extensively with Local Election Commissions (LECs) and Polling Station Committees (PSCs), providing training to confirmed members of both types of organizations as well as drafting guidelines for nomination of candidates and tracking their constitution and membership.
Voter Education and Information - IFES' Pascal Pelissier cooperated with the UNT AES Voter Education and Information Section in developing electronic media pieces for transmission throughout the UNTAES region and through local radio and television stations. Pelissier returned to the region prior to the June 1997 Presidential Elections to implement an IFES-developed inter-ethnic media development and voter education project.
Information Technology - IFES' consultants Andrew Cole and Victor Wong provided the backbone of technological expertise in their development and manipulation of the voter lists, as well as the creation of numerous other programs and databases to manage electoral administration and the recording of polling results. Mr. Wong also returned to the region prior to the June 1997 Presidential Elections in order to complete the consolidation of voter registers from the April elections.
In addition, IFES' Program Officer for the Balkan Region, Alexander Knapp, participated in the official OSCE observation of the election in Eastern Slavonia and assisted UNT AES in the administration and supervision of the second day of polling from UNT AES headquarters in Vukovar.
While the election took place in an extremely challenging and difficult environment, results were accepted by all parties, facilitating the next step in the transition of the region back to Croatia and toward a more democratic future.