The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today welcomed the celebration of OAS Electoral Observation Day, calling it "a date of great significance not only for this organization but for the entire hemisphere.”
"The policy of the OAS, which has deepened in recent years, of accompanying electoral processes throughout the hemisphere, responds to one of the fundamental pillars of the OAS: to protect, promote and consolidate democracy. There have been more than 200 missions in the 50 years since the first, and the professionalism, preparation and commitment of each and every one of the people who took part in these processes has ensured that today, electoral observation is one of the most recognized and admired activities of the OAS around the world," added the head of the hemispheric organization.
In order to support the important work of the organization observing electoral processes in the region, the Permanent Council established February 4 of every year as the "OAS Electoral Observation Day." It was that day in 1962 when a mission of the then-Pan American Union, witnessed elections in a country for the first time, in this case Costa Rica. From that mission to the present, the OAS has observed 200 elections in 27 of its 34 Member States.
The Electoral Observation Missions of the OAS are one of the organization’s most important tools to meet its core mandates. Their presence is also a symbol of the solidarity and support of the Inter-American community for the efforts of Member States to improve the organization and administration of their electoral processes.
With the consolidation of democracy in the countries of the region, the missions of the OAS have been increasingly professionalized, and today have a variety of technical tools to observe elections. In the last five years, the General Secretariat expanded the number of countries open to observation, increased the types of elections observed, and worked to position itself as an international reference point in electoral observation.
Going forward, the OAS will continue to work to strengthen the institutions and electoral processes in the region.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.