Martijn van Velzen is van 15 tot 22 december in Spanje om daar als verkiezingswaarnemer de verkiezingen bij te wonen als deel van het AEGEE ''Election Observation Project.'' Hieronder kan je zijn blog lezen.
The Road towards Spain, the road toward the Election Observation Mission.
At the beginning of August I became a member of student association AEGEE-Leiden and besides meeting a lot of new people, there are also numerous nice AEGEE projects to participate in. One of them is the awesome AEGEE Election Observation Project and in this context I will be observing the parliamentary elections in Spain on December 20th as an international election observer. Through this blog I will keep you updated about my experiences in Spain. I will monitor the election process in various polling stations together with over 20 other observers from all over Europe!
During the introduction period of AEGEE-Leiden I first came in contact with the Observation Project, during an enthusiastic presentation of Casper Renting, European Affairs Officer in the previous board of AEGEE-Leiden. In May last year, he was an observer in Ukraine, during the presidential elections. His story made me become enthusiastic as well. Early November, when the opportunity arose to apply for the mission in Spain, I quickly signed up. I was chosen to participate and will travel to Spain in mid-December.
The last few weeks were marked by the practical and substantive preparations for the mission. Along with other observers, I have conducted research into things as election laws, participating parties, the electoral campaign so far. and the use of media and the (inter-)national context of the elections. In addition, I quickly booked my tickets and I arranged a hostel for myself for the days that I am planning to stay longer. After all, it's a nice opportunity to have a few days holiday in Spain as well!
Next week I will update you guys about the final preparations before my departure on December 15th and the start of the mission! In Spain, I will regularly update you on what we are doing and how things are going. If you would like to know more about the Election Observation Project of AEGEE, please visit www.aegee.org/eop or send me a message!
The day before departure day: election day minus six
¡Hola a todos!,
Time goes by and already tomorrow I will leave for my adventure being an international election observer in Spain. Yesterday I started packing my bag. Today I looked up the weather in Madrid (minumum 19 degrees), realising that three sweaters might be a little too enthausiastic ;) Also I finished the last projects at my study, by which the Chsitmas Holiday has started very early this year!
Let me briefly tell you something about my motivation to participate in the Election Observation Mission. I think the transparency of elections is one of the most important pillars of the democracy as we know. Different examples around the world, and even close by state that democracy isn’t for granted, so I would like to contribute to this achievement in our civilization. I think this is an unique way to contribute to democracy itself and the notion that democracy is something to cherish and cannot operate without the control by its inhabitants!
The next few days will be dominated by the countdown towards 'E-day': the day of the parliamentary elections and the most important day of the entire Mission. In the Mission schedule, days are logically numbered as 'E-day minus one', and so on. According to this, tomorrow, 'E-day minus five', I will arive in Spain, taking an early flight from Schiphol. So now it's time for a good night sleep, can't wait to be in Spain!
Moving day: Election day minus one
I'm writing you after a seven hour bus trip and still one more to go till we'll arrive in Barcelona, the city of our deployment! We are observing the election in Barcelona with two teams, and our local coördinator Julia is joining us in the bus.
Yesterday we had a meeting with the National Youth Council. We discussed the way in which votes are translated into seats in the Parliament, the popularity of the four big parties in different age groups, youth participation and much more. After this interesting meeting we had our final briefing. We got some more detailed explanation of different processes and the observation forms were handed out. These forms will be used to structure the observation, making sure evey aspect we need to look at in the polling stations is covered in detail.
Tonight we're gonna explore the beautiful city centre of Barcelona and have a good night sleep. Tomorrow the Mission will be at it's peak, with 24 international observers monitoring the parliamentary elections in seven different area's. We will observe the voting process, the opening and closing of polling stations and the tabulation. Team Barcelona is ready for it's Mission!