Media Center

Press Release


  March 31, 2004

According a preliminary report by the Organization of American States, the presidential elections held in El Salvador on March 21 were fair and transparent. Antonio Saca was elected President and Ana Vilma de Escobar Vice President, in the first round.

Elizabeth Spehar, Executive Coordinator of the Organization’s Unit for the Promotion of Democracy (UPD), told the Permanent Council on March 31 that the OAS Electoral Observation Mission had concluded that the elections “provided Salvadorians an opportunity for a massive turn-out to vote and to freely express their political will.” That voter turn-out also “definitely advanced the country’s democracy,” she asserted, congratulating the Salvadorian people, the government, electoral authorities and political actors for what she described as “a transparent election process.”

Spehar cited two important suggestions to strengthen El Salvador’s electoral institutions as a whole. Firstly, she said the authorities should consider implementing a system to take the election to voters, thereby simplifying the logistics and enhancing voter turn-out. The second suggestion relates to the Supreme Elections Tribunalhaving its own infrastructure for training, using a permanent team of trainers versed in formulating and implementing projects to strengthen the electoral systems.

The UPD Coordinator also thanked the government officials as well as electoral authorities, presidential candidates and their campaign teams, local and international media representatives and the international community, notably Brazil and the United States as donor countries, for helping the Mission accomplish its objectives.

Meanwhile, in her remarks, El Salvador’s Ambassador, Margarita Escobar, thanked the OAS for the report and for supporting her country’s electoral process. She praised the Electoral Observation Mission for its professionalism and impartiality, saying the team’s efforts undoubtedly helped to strengthen democracy in El Salvador. She again thanked the United States and Brazil for supporting the OAS team of election observers.

Speaking on behalf of all the delegations, the Permanent Council’s Chairman, Ambassador Paul Durand of Canada, congratulated the people and government of El Salvador, “for conducting the March 21 elections as an exemplary exercise in democracy.”

Reference: E-048/04