December 7, 1998

The electoral observation mission sent by the Organization of American States (OAS) to Venezuela affirmed that the elections held there on Sunday December 6, were "clean, free, and transparent, demonstrating once again the great civic and democratic spirit of the Venezuelan people."

In a statement released in Caracas late on election day, the mission emphasized that citizen’s peaceful behavior helped contribute to the consolidation of the democratic system. The mission also underscored the fundamental role carried out by the Armed Forces, which were present in all voting localities observed by the OAS, coordinating the installation of voting booths and helping to organize the voting process.

During Sunday’s elections, OAS Secretary General CÚsar Gaviria visited several polling stations throughout the capital where citizens were voting in peaceful and orderly manner. The OAS mission received no official complaints or accusations concerning the electoral process; however, it did obtain copies of complaints that had been directed to the electoral authorities.

The mission, headed by Edgardo C. Reis, arrived in Venezuela in October to monitor the November 8 regional elections. The team comprised of 68 men and women carried out its work in 11 regions with its central headquarters in Caracas. The mission was backed with technical and financial support from the governments of Canada and the United States. The OAS, in the last few years, has monitored over 40 elections in some 15 countries.