Media Center

Press Release

OAS Delivers Final Report on Electoral Reforms to the National Congress of Honduras

  July 11, 2019

The group of international experts from the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation of the Secretariat for Strengthening Democracy of the Organization of American States (OAS), delivered today its final report regarding electoral reforms, which includes legislative proposals, to the National Congress of the Republic of Honduras, so the country may strengthen its processes and institutions.

The group of experts, set up in October 2018, has collaborated with the Congress of Honduras in the drafting of reforms that would guarantee free, fair, and transparent elections that would be substantially better than those of 2017.

Two legislatures approved a historic constitutional reform, based on the recommendation submitted by the group of experts in December 2018, creating the National Electoral Council and the Tribunal of Electoral Justice. This new constitutional framework represents a unique opportunity to reestablish the electoral system by democratic and institutional means.

In March 2019, the group of experts began its work in support of the reforms to the secondary electoral legislation. The group worked with a wide variety of political sectors and had constructive dialogue with the main political parties. However, the proposal presented today does not represent the interest of one group or another; rather it is a reflection of all the voices heard throughout the process, the reports generated by the Electoral Observation Mission (EOMs), and the extensive technical knowledge of the experts involved in this project.

These proposals seek to provide guarantees and balance to decisions made regarding electoral matters. The new institutions that will be created must have completely renovated authorities and must be composed of people with a deep technical understanding of the matters at hand. It is important that all the major political forces are included in the new National Electoral Council. Thus, this project aims to guarantee access to independent and impartial electoral justice.

The proposals being presented also aim to guarantee organized electoral processes and election days, with trained electoral officials, standardized polling stations, and transparent ballot processing. They seek to strengthen and improve the regulation of the party system, with emphasis on women’s equal access to electable positions. The importance of the Financing, Transparency, and Oversight Unit in the new Honduran electoral mechanisms is reiterated.

Now it is the responsibility of the political parties in Congress to evaluate the reforms in an appropriate manner. If they are approved, Honduras will have an improved electoral regulatory framework, but it will only achieve its goal if it is implemented properly.

The group of experts is convinced that this is the path for Honduras to achieve more transparent, more pluralistic, and more equal elections, with professional and trustworthy institutions. Moreover, the group expresses its gratitude to the Congress of Honduras for its trust in the OAS General Secretariat and its hope that this project will be welcomed by the political forces in the National Congress.

Reference: E-053/19