Who we are?

Election-Watch.EU (wahlbeobachtung.org) is an independent, non-partisan civil society organisation with extended international and citizen-based election observation and electoral assistance expertise.

The initiative aims at observing and assessing the European Elections and electoral processes in European countries. The process initiated in Austria focuses on international obligations and commitments as well as on best practices to strengthen democracy in Europe and European fundamental values.

Through recommendations and advocacy, Election-Watch.EU contributes to the improvement of European and members states’ electoral systems and processes, and more broadly to the strengthening of democratic political practice.

Election-Watch.EU provides information on the European and Austrian election processes, international standards and best practices.

Advisory Board Members:

Ambassador Urszula Gacek is a former senior diplomat in the Polish MFA, Poland’s Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe and Consul General in New York. During her term in Strasbourg, she chaired a key ambassadorial body – the Committee of Ministers’ Rapporteur Group on Democracy for a two-year term. As Consul General in New York, she was responsible for the co-ordination and oversight of Presidential and Parliamentary elections and a national referendum in the New York Consular District. She has also held elected office, as both a member of the Polish Senate and of the European Parliament. Amb. Gacek is an experienced electoral observer having been a short-term observer with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and more recently regularly acting as Head of Mission on ODIHR Election Observation Missions.  In the fall of 2020, she headed the ODIHR Limited Election Observation Mission in the USA. In 2000-2023 she was an adviser to the Foreign and European Union Affairs Committee of the Polish Senate.  She is currently a member of the TeamEurope group of experts working with the Polish office of the European Commission, focusing on democratisation and electoral issues. Born and educated in the United Kingdom, she holds a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.


Prof. Manfred Nowak is Secretary General of the Global Campus of Human Rights in Venice and Director of the Vienna Master of Arts in Applied Human Rights at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. He previously served in various expert functions, such as UN Expert on enforced disappearances (1993-2006), UN Special Rapporteur on Torture (2004-2010), judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996-2003) and Vice Chairperson of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (2013-2018). In 2016 he was appointed Independent Expert leading the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. He was Director of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights at Utrecht University (SIM, 1987-1989) and of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights at Vienna University (BIM, 1992-2019) as well as Visiting Professor at the University of Lund (2002-2003), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva (2008-2009), and at Stanford University in Palo Alto (2014). He is author of more than 600 publications in the fields of public international law and human rights. © Foto Angewandte Menschenrechte – Ruedastudio


Mr. Patrick Costello served as an EU official for 27 years working in the European Parliament (EP), the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) and has served in a number of private offices including those of Chris Patten, Vice-President Margot Wallström (as deputy Head of Cabinet), EP President Josep Borrell (as diplomatic adviser) and Karmenu Vella (as Head of Cabinet). Other jobs have included EEAS head of division for democracy and electoral observation, head of division for the Middle East and deputy to the Chair of the Political and Security Committee. Prior to joining the European Institutions, he worked for the UN in Haiti (MICIVIH) and as an electoral observer in South Africa (UNOMSA). He started his career as a human rights campaigner. He has recently joined the advisory board of the European Partnership for Democracy.


Meet the team:

Paul GrohmaPaul Grohma is a founding member of Election-Watch.EU and, in addition to his role as treasurer, carries out editorial and coordination tasks in the association, such as networking with the Austrian Democracy Index or the position of the Austrian focal point in the European network of civic election observation (Election-Watch.EU). As a cultural and social anthropologist, he is currently working as a senior social scientist at the Medical University of Vienna in the Department of Global Health. Since 2003 he has been involved in election observations for the European Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR and provided technical assistance to the United Nations in organizing the first post-civil war elections in Burundi. He specialized in voter registration and voter information. Most recently, he observed the parliamentary and presidential elections in Haiti as a long-term observer for the European Union. He carried out further long-term election observation missions in Egypt, Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tunisia and Uganda. As a consultant, he works for MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and WHO (World Health Organization) in research, evaluation and as a trainer for hygiene and health. In his scientific work as a senior social scientist, he specialized in community engagement processes, building a bridge between public health and democratic participation. 

Tatyana Hilscher-Bogussevich is an independent consultant with a 15-year experience in the fields of democratic elections, civic participation, and human rights from across Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Caucuses. As an election expert, she collaborates with different international and civil society organizations on activities and projects related to elections. She contributes regularly to international election observation activities as a Team Leader, Deputy Head of Mission, Political or Election Analyst. Through her activities, she also supports the development of observation methodology and publications, carries out legislative analysis, conducts election observer trainings, and contributes to post-electoral collaboration with states to help improve the conduct of elections in compliance with international obligations and standards. In 2021-2023, Tatyana managed a project on democratic constitution making in Eastern Europe for International IDEA. In 2015, she completed her 10-year career at the OSCE/ODIHR, the latest in the capacity of an Acting Deputy Head of Election Department. She holds an MSc in Comparative Politics and a Certificate of Legal Studies, both from London School of Economics and Political Sciences. 

Michael Lidauer is a Social Anthropologist with a specialisation on Southeast Asia and has been working globally for international organizations on peacebuilding and electoral support since 2003. His work includes independent evaluations of international cooperation and the strengthening of civil society capacities. Election observation and assistance missions as well as relevant research stays included Albania, Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Croatia, Liberia, Georgia, Guyana, Indonesia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nepal, Uganda, Slovenia, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. In 2010, Michael began an interdisciplinary dissertation project studying international democracy and electoral support in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Myanmar. From 2012 onwards, he increasingly worked as consultant for international organizations in Myanmar and was Senior Elections and Conflict Advisor to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) between 2014 and 2016. Between 2007 and 2009, Michael headed the International Civilian Peace Keeping and Peace Building Training Program (IPT) and helped set up the Peace Building and Security Sector Reform (SSR) project at the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution.

Markus Pollak is a Ph.D. candidate at the Doctoral School of Political Science at Central European University in Vienna, where he currently is writing a dissertation on international election observation and democracy. His broader research focuses on contestation of established election observation institutions, parallel election observation and the political sociology of the election observation field. Markus is also an active election observer, most recently having served on the OSCE-ODIHR missions in Kazakhstan (2022), Uzbekistan (2023) and Serbia (2023). He also holds a MA degree in International Relations from Central European University which he completed in 2021 and studied political science at the University of Vienna and Sciences Po Paris. While at the University of Vienna he was a research assistant for the Austrian Corona Panel Project (ACPP) for two years. Among other things, he wrote the ACPP Chronology of the Corona Crisis in Austria. Previously, he worked for the Americas Department of the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA), as well as in the field of research and education at UNESCO, The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, YFU Argentina, the Holocaust Exhibition Vilnius and the NGO Gedenkdienst.

Armin Rabitsch is the originator, co-founder and chairperson of Election-Watch.EU . Armin Rabitsch has worked 25 years as an election and democracy expert across the five continents, including for international organisations (EU, UN, OSCE/ODHIR, IFES). He gained expertise in in human rights and governance, including in conflict transformation and electoral violence risk assessment. He is and guest lecturer at the Global Campus of Human Rights, holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (University of Innsbruck/ Austria) and an LL.M. in international Human Rights Law (University of Prague/ Czechia), and co-authored several publications including the UNESCO Practitioners Handbook on Elections in Digital Times.  © Foto Simon Pugh

Paul Grohma +43-676-7009395 / Michael Lidauer +43-650-9803594
Armin Rabitsch +43-664-9263563

kontakt@wahlbeobachtung.org or wahlbeobachtung@gmail.com

Picture: Core Team of Election-Watch.EU (wahlbeobachtung.org) ; Armin Rabitsch, Michael Lidauer, Tatyana Hilscher-Bogussevich, Paul Grohma, (from left to right)