The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS), the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico (IFE), and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) organized this week in Mexico City the Sixth Inter-American Electoral Conference, which brings together 21 representatives of electoral authorities of the Hemisphere to discuss the current situation and the challenges related to the financing of campaigns and political parties.
In the opening ceremony, the Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora, said that the challenges related to political financing represent "one of the most sophisticated threats that weigh on the integrity of elections in the region," and highlighted the important role Electoral Authorities of the Hemisphere should have in regulating them. Casas-Zamora explained that the Sixth Inter-American Electoral Conference will be a space to "transfer knowledge and create hemispheric networks on electoral issues" with the aim of strengthening democracy.
The Director of the IFE, Leonardo Valdés Zurita, reiterated the importance of international cooperation to address political financing challenges. "The inter-American election days will allow for the exchange of experiences and best practices to find solutions to the challenges we face every day in the realm of electoral campaigns," he added.
In the first session of the conference, the Director of the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO) of the OAS, Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian, shared with participants the path taken by the OAS in the implementation of a Methodology for Observing Political-Electoral Financing in Latin America and the Caribbean. In her speech, Muñoz-Pogossian said that "the development and implementation of this methodology allows the OAS to respond in a timely manner to the challenges stemming from the complex relationship between money and politics."
For five days, representatives from 21 OAS member states will analyze, through theoretical lectures and group work sessions, issues such as illicit financing in politics, the role of media and civil society, regulation instruments, and accountability.
With this training, the OAS seeks to maintain a space for high-level technical discussion on the role of Electoral Authorities in promoting equity and transparency in political and electoral competition. At the same time, these conferences are part of the commitment of the OAS to the strengthening of electoral and democratic institutions in the Americas.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.