Canada to send election observers to Lebanon

OTTAWA (AFP) – Canada will send 20 observers to monitor Lebanon’s May 29-June 19 parliamentary elections, officials announced.

Ten will join the European Union Electoral Observation Mission and 10 will form an independent Canadian mission that will observe only the first round of the election in Beirut on May 29.

The deployment marks the third Canada Corps mission to observe elections abroad. Canada provided election observers to support the second Ukrainian presidential runoff elections that were held in December 2004 and contributed observers for the Palestinian presidential elections held in January.

The Canadian International Development Agency will fund this latest mission, up to 750,000 dollars (614,000 US dollars).

“The 2005 election is an important element in rebuilding democratic consensus in Lebanon and in restoring confidence in its future stability and prosperity,” said Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew.

“Many Canadians have close links to Lebanon and are following with interest the current political developments,” he said.