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DUSHANBE, 3 November 2013 – Arriving in Dushanbe this morning to lead the short-term OSCE election observer mission, Gordana Comic stressed the important role of observers in electoral processes.

"I am delighted to be in Tajikistan at this time," said Comic. "International observers have an important role in this presidential election. We look forward to meeting the candidates, the election officials, political parties, civil society, media and all our usual counterparts, who help us understand the context of this election. I wish the country and all its citizens success on Wednesday."

Gordana Comic was appointed as Special Co-ordinator to lead the short-term OSCE observer mission by the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Comic is a Member of Parliament from Serbia and Rapporteur of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's committee on human rights.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has deployed an observation mission consisting of 35 observers from 15 countries from across the OSCE area who will be in the country when voters head to the polls Wednesday 6 November. The OSCE parliamentary delegation, headed by Margareta Cederfelt from Sweden, who arrived in Dushanbe on 1 November, works closely with the long-term observation mission of the OSCE/ODIHR.

Before deploying to observe on election day, the parliamentarians will receive briefings from candidates, those who were not able to register or are boycotting the elections, the Central Commission for Elections and Referenda, non-governmental organizations, and analysts and international experts, including the OSCE/ODIHR and the OSCE Office in Tajikistan.

"As elected officials ourselves, my fellow parliamentarians and I will draw on our electoral experience and expertise to help shape the overall assessment of how the conduct of this presidential election compares to Tajikistan's democratic commitments," said Cederfelt.

"The development of democracy in Tajikistan is important to the stability of the wider region given the country's strategic location," Comic said. "It is our hope that Tajikistan's electoral process upholds the country's OSCE commitments, and we are prepared to honestly and accurately assess that after the election."

The parliamentarians will help shape the overall assessment as to the fairness of the elections and whether the country upheld its commitments to hold free elections as established in the 1990 Copenhagen Document.