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OAS Mission Applauds the Triumph of Mexico’s Democratic Institutions

  June 8, 2015

The Mission of Foreign Visitors (MVE) of the Organization of American States (OAS) for Mexico’s federal elections, headed by former President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla, applauds the Mexican citizenry for yesterday’s election day, when voters turned out with exemplary public spirit and in greater numbers than in earlier mid-term elections.

Former President Chinchilla noted that “the balloting took place in an atmosphere where peace prevailed virtually throughout Mexican territory, despite unfortunate incidents of violence that occurred at the pre-election stage and on election day at some polling places.” “This election constitutes a triumph for Mexico’s democratic system,” she added.

Election day

On election day, the OAS observers visited 638 polling stations at 399 polling places in 17 federative entities. In addition to covering the federal election, at the request of local authorities, the OAS deployed a special Mission to observe the Federal District elections. The Mission verified that the essential materials were available and polling sites adequate in a high percentage of the polling stations observed. Also of note was the probity and integrity with which voter registration was conducted, this being an area where Mexico serves as a good referent at the regional level.

The Mission noted with satisfaction the efforts made and steps taken to promote participation by people with disabilities and wishes make special mention of the innovations implemented by the Electoral Institute of the Federal District. Also to be noted was the heavy presence of national observers.
Nonetheless, the MVE observers viewed with concern the lack of information on the operation of the special polling stations, which made it difficult for some citizens to vote. The special polling station system has been the subject of recommendations by earlier OAS Missions.

Electoral reform

These elections are the first to be held following a wide-ranging electoral reform that incorporated advances such as strengthening the definition of the Prosecutor of Electoral Offenses [fiscal electoral] and greater autonomy in his/her designation procedure, gender equality, the independent candidacy, and the combined federal and local polling station [casilla única]. Based on its analysis of this reform and of the electoral process as a whole, the Mission wishes to submit observations and recommendations intended to contribute to enhancing Mexican electoral democracy.

Together with the electoral results obtained all along the political spectrum, the Mission applauds the openness and competitiveness that characterized these elections. A larger number of contending political parties took part and for the first time it was possible to elect independent candidates, promoting representativeness in elected office and pluralism in the political system. Initial results suggest that these new options resonated with the citizenry. Regarding the independent candidacy, the Mission respectfully recommends a review of the legal instruments with
a view to generating more equitable conditions in elections.

Campaign finance

The legal framework stipulates that political parties have an obligation to submit reports on their pre-campaign and campaign financing and that the National Electoral Institute (INE) is to issue the final audit report within 10 days. According to data from the Technical Audit Unit of the INE’s Audit Commission, just over 70,000 pre-campaign and campaign reports were received. The OAS Mission considers that despite the good intent of the model for campaign finance control, it places excessive demands on electoral authorities, evidently not an optimal way to ensure precision in oversight.

During the many dialogues sustained in the course of this Mission, widespread complaints were received regarding the political communications model implemented for these elections. Despite its intent to reduce campaign costs and promote electoral equity, the existing model does not appear to promote political debate of quality and creates ongoing friction among electoral actors. The MVE invites, prior to any legislative reform designed to refine this system, the institution of the widest possible discussion on the changes to be made to it.

Gender equality

The recent electoral reform established that the principle of gender equality was to apply in the lists of candidates drawn up for the 2015 electoral process. The Federal Electoral Court of Mexico [Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación] also instituted an obligation for the principle of “horizontal parity” [paridad horizontal—gender equality on the lists of mayoral candidates] to apply in the lists of candidates for municipal elections drawn up. The OAS Mission applauds Mexico for the progress betokened by the adoption of these regulations to promote equity in the exercise of women’s political rights. Nonetheless, it considers it important for the harmonization of the legal framework of the federative entities to continue until horizontal parity and guarantees for its implementation in future elections are fully incorporated.

Electoral federalism

In the wake of this first exercise under the new electoral federalism rules, the Mission recommends evaluating their implementation in practice to identify successes and challenges for the next electoral processes. The establishment of a mechanism for fluent dialogue that includes national and local electoral authorities would facilitate greater balance between allowing federative entities a margin of autonomy and ensuring the implementation of certain national standards.

Electoral justice

As regards the electoral justice system, the Mission observed a disproportionate workload for administrative and jurisdictional authorities alike. In that regard, the Mission recommends promoting legislative reforms to prevent the incentives to the excessive litigation that this electoral process has generated.


The Mission wishes again to commend the Mexican people and to thank the National Electoral Institute, the Federal Electoral Court of Mexico, the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Offenses, the Electoral Institute of the Federal District, and all local public electoral entities, as well as the three levels and branches of government of the Union, which provided the Mission with the conditions needed to carry out its work without any restriction. The Mission also wishes to thank the Governments of Colombia, Chile, France, Israel, Peru, Serbia, Switzerland, and United States for their financial support that made possible the deployment of this Mission.

When the electoral process has concluded, the Mission will submit a report to the Permanent Council of the Organization containing the Mission’s observations and recommendations intended to make a contribution to the Mexican electoral system.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-195/15