On October 14th-19th, members of the Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership (APDP) presented the East-West Center's 2009 Election Observation Mission (EOM) report on the March 3rd National Congressional and Chuuk State Elections. The Mission was supported by the U.S. Department of State, on behalf of the APDP, under the leadership of Congressman Eni F. H. Faleomavaega of American Samoa, Chairman of the U.S. House of Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment.
In Chuuk, Project Director and Deputy Director of the East-West Center's Pacific Island Development Program Dr. Jerry Finin and Senior Advisor Chris Camponovo of the U.S. Department of State presented the Mission Report to Governor Wesley Simina. The APDP EOM members then met with Chuuk State Attorney General Joses Gallen, Chuuk State Election Commission Executive Director Marino Siever, Speaker of the House of Representatives Florencio Harper, Senate President Mark Mailo, Mayors of the ten outer islands of Chuuk, officers of the Chuuk Women's Council, the Rotary Club and Chuuk Chamber of Commerce.
In Pohnpei, Dr. Finin and Mr. Camponovo presented their work to various national and state officials, including His Excellency FSM President Emanuel Mori, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Lorin Robert, FSM National Election Commissioner Kimeuo Kimiuo, Pohnpei State Lieutenant Governor Churchill Edward, Pohnpei State Election Commissioner Oliver Johnny, former FSM President John Haglelgam, and Micronesian Seminar Director Father Francis X. Hezel.
Throughout the meetings, Dr. Finin and Mr. Camponovo highlighted the strengths of the FSM's electoral system: a peaceful, non-violent atmosphere, sizeable public enthusiasm and involvement, and considerable electoral transparency. The report also identified "improvements to the voter registration lists and major enhancements to the ballot tabulation process" as "critical priorities."
Mr. Camponovo encouraged the FSM to seek assistance through the capacity building sector of the Compact of Free Association and through assistance grants, explaining that "increased training and transparency [in the electoral process] will increase the people's confidence in its government…that is the heart of democracy."