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Bolivian Referendum: OAS Mission Congratulates High Participation, Civic and Democratic Spirit

  February 22, 2016

The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Bolivia, headed by the former President of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández today congratulated the Bolivian people for the high participation, and civic and democratic spirit shown in the constitutional referendum held Sunday, February 21.

Chief of Mission Fernández highlighted that “while this is the sixth time a referendum has been held in the country, it is the first time that, through an exercise of direct democracy, a transitory constitutional reform has been voted on. As alternation in power is an intrinsic element in the exercise of democracy, it is understandable that the people be consulted on deciding a key aspect in the institutional structure of the country.”

The EOM was made up of 63 international observers and specialists in electoral organization, media, political analysis and mechanisms of direct democracy from 18 member states and two observer states of the OAS. Of the total members of the Mission, 61 international observers were present in the nine departments of Bolivia and visited 713 voting centers in 447 precincts. Another two observers visited 25 voting centers in three precinct in Virginia and Washington, DC, United States.

During election day, the OAS Mission observed that the voting centers opened on time and that a high percentage had the electoral material needed. At the same time, specific cases were noted in which the materials were not delivered on time and the centers opened with considerable delays. The EOM welcomed the resolution of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal that authorized a minimum time of eight hours for those centers that opened late. Similarly, the Mission regrets the acts of vandalism that led to the cancellation of elections in 24 voting centers in the Department of Santa Cruz, which will be held in a special process on March 6.

The EOM today presented a preliminary report with observations and recommendations that aim to contribute to the strengthening of the Bolivian electoral system. The Mission will further detail issues and recommendations in its report to the Permanent Council of the Organization.

Reference: E-020/16