The purpose of the International Election Monitors Institute (IEMI) is to provide former legislators as election observers to operate worldwide in collaboration with other democracy-building organizations. To this end, IEMI will recruit and train former legislators of the United States Association of Former Members of Congress, the Association of Former Members of the European Parliament and the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians. In addition, IEMI will involve former legislators in other democracy-building endeavours, especially those related to strengthening legislative institutions, and employ its resources to assist in the establishment and training of national observer groups including political party scrutineers.
Since the third wave of democratization began in 1974, more than 60 countries in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa have begun transitions from authoritarian regimes to some form of democracy. With this historic move towards democratization and the disappearance of the East-West conflict, more and more states adopting democratic procedures and rules have come to regard the certification or validation of their election results by a trained, objective, independent and authoritative election mission as not only highly desirable but also, in many cases, absolutely vital.
As experience has been gained in election observation by participating states and organizations, increasing emphasis is being placed upon the assessment of pre-election circumstances and environment, and post-election follow-up on governance needs identified during the electoral period. Further, there has been a marked trend away from bilateral missions to multilateral missions.
The project arose out of a series of joint election-monitoring missions carried out by joint teams of former Canadian parliamentarians, former European MEPs and former US Members of Congress at the time of the Ukraine presidential elections in 2004, and was supported by a multi-year contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency.
The Institute has a twelve-member Board of Directors, four each from Europe, the United States and Canada. Presidency of the Institute will rotate among the partners at two-year intervals.
Since its inception, IEMI has developed a standard international election monitoring curriculum and an online refresher, trained a cadre of 70 former legislators, and participated in many election monitoring missions, including in Afghanistan, Belarus, Burundi, Georgia, Haiti, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Morocco, and Tunisia. IEMI is also a regular participant in international conferences, including the recent Sixth Follow Up Meeting of the Declaration of Principles of International Election Observation in Brussels.