A group of European election observers visiting the United States to monitor the presidential elections delivered its preliminary findings Wednesday, criticizing President Donald Trump for his repeated lies about election fraud and the integrity of elections.
At a press conference, senior members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), who have been invited to monitor the US elections since 2002, discussed “the highly polarized political environment “and the” bitter rhetoric “of both parties.
While stressing that they were not partisans and would not make political assessments, European observers still kept their most damning comments to Trump himself.
“Unfounded allegations of systematic deficiencies, especially by the incumbent president, including election night, undermine public confidence in democratic institutions,” said Michael Georg Link, Germany’s special coordinator and leader of the short-term observer mission. of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.
Urszula Gacek, the Polish head of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, also highlighted Trump’s actions.
“The huge effort made by election workers … ensured that voters could vote despite the legal and technical challenges and deliberate attempts by the incumbent president to weaken confidence in the electoral process,” he said.
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Last month, former election observers and academics studying these monitors told BuzzFeed News that they suspected Trump’s behavior would raise concerns about U.S. democracy.
“If the United States uses the same formula we use abroad to see which countries are falling behind in their democracy, we are backing down quickly,” said an American who had previously overseen elections on three continents, but who went asking him not to be named because he didn’t. I don’t want to be talked about by your current employer.
In a Preliminary statement of 24 pages, OSCE teams also raised concerns about the deprivation of voters’ rights.
But they seemed particularly impacted by political rhetoric.
“The two main presidential candidates accused each other of corruption, fraud, work for foreign interests, inability to lead and support extremist groups,” they wrote. “The president’s use of discriminatory and pejorative statements against people on the grounds of gender and origin was particularly worrying.”
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Unlike Trump, who has tried falsely declares himself victorious in Tuesday’s election, despite votes counted in crucial states, visiting OSCE observers stressed that they were staying in the United States because, as Link said, “the count continues.”
“Ensuring that every vote is counted is a fundamental obligation for all branches of government,” he said.
“The count continues,” Gacek added, “and these elections are not over yet.”