The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representative of Paraguay to the hemispheric body, Martín Sannemann, today signed an Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of Observers, which stipulates the conditions for the work of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) which will accompany the general and departmental elections in the country on April 21, 2013.
Secretary General Insulza expressed his satisfaction at the signing of the document and said that "these elections take place at an important time for both Paraguayan democracy and democracy in the region." The elections will be watched carefully throughout the hemisphere, said the Secretary General, and therefore "the Electoral Observation Mission begins its work earlier than usual." To lead the Mission, the Secretary General appointed the former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Óscar Arias, who will begin his work in the coming days.
"I assign a great deal of importance to this Mission from the point of view of the possibilities of starting a dialogue, talks with all political forces, to speak very clearly not only about the present but about the future of democracy in Paraguay" said the OAS leader, who expressly thanked President Arias for his “willingness to participate."
The EOM/OAS will include specialists in organizing elections, legislation, media, political analysis and logistics, among other areas, said the Secretary General, and added the Mission planned the deployment of 17 departmental coordinators and more than 50 international observers in all the departments of Paraguay.
The Secretary General concluded by noting that "we are confident that in the April election, and the subsequent installation of a new, democratically elected government, Paraguay will strengthen substantially its democracy."
At the ceremony, held at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, Ambassador Sannemann said the signing of the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities represents the "serious, responsible and coherent gesture by the Organization of American States to participate in the electoral process." He quoted the words of the President of his country, Federico Franco, who said "the participation and construction of this process is fundamental."
"We as a country are open to the observation of the entire electoral process by all institutions that are serious, and above all responsible," said Ambassador Sanneman, "and among these responsible and serious institutions, the Organization of American States is foremost.”
The signing ceremony was also attended by the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the body, Ambassador Joel Hernández.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.
The video of the event is available here.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.