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Third Democracy Forum in Mexico to Debate the Relationship of the Crisis of Representation, Elections and Power

  October 7, 2012

- Organized by the OAS, the IFE, International IDEA and the College of Mexico

- José Miguel Insulza, José Manuel Zelaya, Carlos Mesa, Hipólito Mejía, Vidar Helgesen and Leonardo Valdés to participate, among others

The Third Latin American Democracy Forum, entitled "Democracy and crisis of representation: who wins the election, wins the power?" and organized by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) of Mexico, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA) and the College of Mexico, will take place from October 10 to 12, 2012, at the headquarters of the College of Mexico, in Mexico City. The aim of the event is to create a space for reflection, discussion and analysis of the challenges posed by the transition to, and the strengthening and consolidation of democracy in Latin America.

Prominent personalities from politics, academia and the media will participate in the symposium, including former Presidents Hipólito Mejía of the Dominican Republic, José Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, and Carlos Mesa of Bolivia, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza , the Secretary General of International IDEA Vidar Helgesen, the Minister President of the IFE, Leonardo Valdes, the President of the College of Mexico, Javier Garciadiego, and the President of the board of the Mexican Senate, Ernesto Cordero.

The Foreign Minister of Paraguay, Jorge Lara, the former Foreign Minister of Argentina, Dante Caputo, the presidential candidate of Egypt Hamdeen Sabahi, the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Barcena and Secretary for Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora, will also take part, among others.

For three days, participants will address the issues of politics, representation and governability. The OAS Secretary General will speak at the opening session of the Forum, with the President of the College of Mexico, the Secretary General of International IDEA and the President of the board of the Mexican Senate. In addition, on the first day the Report of the Global Commission on Democracy, Elections and Security, will be presented, there will be a dialogue on ethics and politics, and there will be two sessions titled "Legality and legitimacy. Reflections from power" and "Access to power: do elections decide?.”

The second day will begin with a keynote address by former Bolivian President Mesa, who will speak on "the Crisis of Representation and the Democratic Deficit," which will be followed by panels on "Society, Inclusion and Representation in Democracies," "Citizen politics?" and "Latin American Electoral Cycle"

The third and final day will begin with a keynote address by former President Mejía on "the Challenges of Democratic Governability: Conflict and Consensus," followed by a session on "Drug trafficking, Violence and Politics: what are the concrete strategies to confront the power of organized crime?" and another dialogue will focus on "Democracies without Content: what are the specific strategies to address the power of organized crime?"

The Latin American Democracy Forum was born when, in early 2010, Secretary General Insulza and IFE Counselor President Valdes agreed to create a space for reflection, discussion and analysis of the challenges of the transition to, construction and consolidation of democracy in Latin America. The First Forum was organized by the OAS, the IFE and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and was held from October 11 to 14, 2010, in Mexico City. At the first forum the “Second Report on the State of Democracy in Latin America: Our Democracy" was presented.

The second version of the forum was organized by International IDEA with the OAS and the IFE and was held in Mexico City from December 6 to 8, 2011. The OAS presented on that occasion the report "Money, Politics and Power: A Dilemma for Democracy."

Now established as a meeting place for politicians, academics, public policy experts, government officials and electoral authorities, among others, the Democracy Forum helps to identify problems and challenges and to explore and share different approaches, perspectives and paths in the resolution of outstanding issues on the agenda of citizen democracy.

The underpinning of democracy in Latin America is one of the most significant international events of the twentieth century, especially during the last 25 years of the last century. In 1977 only three countries in the region were recognized as fully democratic - Colombia, Venezuela and Costa Rica - and most nations lived under authoritarian regimes. In 2010, the year of the creation of the Forum, practically all the countries in the region had endorsed democracy as a method to access political representation through the holding of free, transparent and regular elections.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-356/12