Media Center

Press Release


  March 20, 2009

Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representative of Panama at the organization, Ambassador Arístides Royo, signed Friday an Agreement on Privileges and Immunities for the members of the OAS Election Observation Mission to the General Election that will take place in the Central American country on May, 3rd.

Insulza defined the oncoming date as “mega-elections”, because 1,590 public offices will be designated all over the country, from the President of the Republic to municipal councilors. “It is a big challenge, which will be no doubt supported by the civic spirit of the Panamanians,” he said.

Secretary General Insulza also highlighted the “advanced” character regarding elections of Panama, that will implement quality and certification systems in the elections under the ISO 9001:2000 quality management system.

Insulza said he was sure the elections will take place in a peaceful and democratic atmosphere. “I hope that same evening I will be able to congratulate the winner,” he said at the OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC. OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin also attended.

Ambassador Royo said Panamanians are “happy and satisfied” because the OAS is sending an Election Observation Mission. “We celebrate with joy the fact,” he added.

The Panamanian government is also convinced the elections will be clean and fair, Royo said. The OAS Electoral Mission provides however a “seal of faith” to the event.

Today’s Agreement between the OAS General Secretariat and the Panamanian State constitutes a normal first step to guarantee the Election Observation Mission will be able to appropriately fulfill its duties on site. The Agreement on Proceedings, that defines precise details of access and basic rules to be followed by Mission members, will be signed on Monday in Panama City.

Reference: E-088/09