International election observation plays an important role in the promotion of democratisation, human rights and the rule of law. The Department maintains a roster of observers who are available to participate in election observation missions. We nominate observers to missions organised, in the main, by the EU and the OSCE.
Ireland's next International Election Observation Roster
Ireland's current international Election Observation Roster was established on 1 January 2019 and will expire on 31 December 2023. A call for applications for the next international Election Observation Roster was advertised in July 2023 and once established will be in place from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2028 inclusive.
A high volume of eligible applications was received by the deadline of 12 August 2023. These have undergone a process of assessment conducted by representatives from the Electoral Commission, The Carter Center, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.
170 applicants have been offered membership of the Roster, subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions. Unsuccessful applicants can appeal within 14 days of the date of communication of the decision.
Election Observation Roster
The Election Observation Roster facilitates the participation of suitably skilled and vetted volunteers who are available to participate at short notice in Election Observation Missions under the aegis of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union (EU). Further information on the roster is available in this Information Note.
On average, the Department sends observers on 12-18 election observation missions per year. Short Term Observers (STOs) are generally in country for 10-14 days, while Long Term Observers (LTOs) can spend 60 days or more observing the election process. The number of deployments fluctuates on an annual basis, depending on the number of requests received and the success of Irish roster nominees being selected for EU and OSCE missions.
The current election roster was established in January 2019. Further information on the 2018 roster mustering process is available in the Composite Response . The Department does not accept applications for election observation missions from non-roster members of the public.
2023 Election Observation Missions
To date in 2023, Ireland has deployed 51 individual observers to OSCE and EU election observation missions in: Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Uzbekistan, Türkiye, Paraguay, Albania, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Liberia, DR Congo, Republic of Poland and Republic of Moldova.
See breakdown of missions, flights costs and average flight emissions for 2023 to date for further info.
A listing of missions from 2013-2023 is available here.
2022 Election Observation Missions
In 2022, Ireland sent 32 individual observers to EU or OSCE election observation missions in: Colombia, Serbia, Hungary, Lebanon, Kenya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, São Tomé and Príncipe, Lesotho and Kazakhstan.
See breakdown of missions, flights costs and average flight emissions for 2022 for further info.
Past Election Observation Missions
Between March 2020 and October 2021, Ireland did not nominate volunteer election observers in accordance with general COVID-19 advice and rules for international travel. Further information is available here: FAQs on COVID 19 considerations for EOM participation.
Following the resumption of nominations in October 2021, Ireland sent nine STOs to observe parliamentary elections in the Kyrgyz Republic in November 2021. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, in January and February 2020, Ireland sent one LTO and two STOs to observe the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan.
In 2019 Ireland sent 57 individual observers to EU or OSCE election observation missions in: Albania, Belarus, El Salvador, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Malawi, Moldova, Mozambique, North Macedonia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Election observation by independent observers has become an important way of supporting countries during the transition to democracy.
Protecting human rights
Learn more about Ireland’s commitment to human rights