The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the hemispheric body, María Isabel Salvador, today signed the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of Observers, which provides the conditions for the work of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) to accompany the presidential and legislative elections in the country on February 17, 2013.
Secretary General Insulza expressed satisfaction at the signing of the document and said that "it is an honor to accompany, once again, Ecuador, its authorities, its political actors and its citizens in the exercise of a fundamental right for democracy."
"We have accompanied Ecuador 14 times in general elections," said Secretary General Insulza, "six of them between 2007 and now, which is a significant number in the context of the 201 missions the OAS has made in 50 years".
The leader of the hemispheric organization recalled that the Chief of Mission, Rafael Alburquerque, former Vice President of the Dominican Republic, and the Deputy Chief, Maria Teresa Mellenkamp, are already on a preliminary visit in Ecuador, where "they are meeting with government officials and the National Electoral Council, and have begun a round of meetings with candidates, media and the diplomatic community in the country."
For her part, the Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the OAS thanked the General Secretariat for its cooperation, and explained that the mission stems from a request from Ecuador to accompany the elections on February 17. "It is an important moment in the democratic life of Ecuador. It is worth noting that an election is being held at the end of a full presidential term for the first time in many years. I think it has significant meaning for our country and for the region,” said Ambassador Salvador.
The fact that elections are being held at the end of a full presidential term, the diplomat continued, "is a sign that Ecuador is moving forward in deepening its democracy under a new constitution that is being respected, and the presence of the Electoral Observation Mission, led by former Vice President Alburquerque, takes on a perhaps a more important dimension on this occasion."
The signing ceremony was also attended by the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Ambassador Albert Ramdin, and the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Nicaragua, Ambassador Denis Moncada.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.