Media Center

Press Release


  May 9, 2007

Enrique Correa, the former Chilean government minister who led the Organization of American States (OAS) Electoral Observation Mission for Ecuador’s April 15 referendum, reported to the OAS Permanent Council on that country’s vote to form a Constituent Assembly. Looking ahead to the election of that body, he called on Ecuadorians to undertake a broad-based national dialogue that encompasses all segments of society and that addresses—legitimately, fairly and legally—the country’s social and economic development.

In his oral report to the Permanent Council on Wednesday, Correa confirmed that Ecuadorians’ decision to create a Constituent Assembly had won 81.72 per cent approval in the referendum.

Correa, who represented OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza as Chief of the Electoral Observation Mission, presented the member country delegations with an overview of what the OAS monitors observed before, during and after the referendum. He noted that most of the country’s political and community leaders had pledged their commitment to a post-referendum “atmosphere conducive to resolving the current political problems and to building the cooperation needed to elect members to the upcoming Constituent Assembly.”

Correa told the Permanent Council, chaired by Venezuela’s Ambassador Jorge Valero, that the observation of Ecuador’s referendum provided a cleared picture of all the political and technical issues involved in the organization of the plebiscite and in the conduct of all parties, including political organizations, election and government authorities, the mass media and society at large.

In his report, Correa restated the commitment of the OAS to continue supporting all efforts by Ecuadorians to bolster their democracy. The OAS is especially committed to the election of the members that will make up the Constituent Assembly that won approval in the referendum. In that regard, the OAS has agreed it would soon put together an Electoral Observation Mission to visit Ecuador.

In the report, the OAS also thanked the Ecuadorian government and state authorities, political leaders and various other segments of society for “being ever willing to facilitate the Mission and for presenting their concerns and visions for the country.” As well, the Mission expressed appreciation to the governments of Canada, Norway, Peru, Spain and the United States for the crucial financial support that allowed the OAS team to do a proper job of monitoring the vote.

On behalf of the Ecuadorian government, Alternate Representative to the OAS Gustavo Palacio thanked the OAS Mission for its work and asked the Secretary General, friends of Ecuador and all donor countries to continue supporting his country’s “efforts to build and strengthen democracy and rebuild its institutions through the Constituent Assembly.”

Member state representatives in the Permanent Council, meanwhile, praised Enrique Correa for the report and for his work in monitoring the referendum. They also thanked the government and people of Ecuador for the civic-mindedness they demonstrated during the plebiscite.

Wednesday’s Permanent Council session also observed a moment of silence in memory of the late Val McComie, the long-serving Barbadian diplomat and former OAS Assistant Secretary General, who died last Friday. McComie retired after serving two five-year terms as Assistant Secretary General, from 1980 to 1990.

In eulogizing McComie, both Secretary General Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin saluted him as a distinguished Americanist who worked to strengthen relations between and among the countries of the region. They also hailed his contributions to the inter-American system in general. Also paying tribute was Ambassador Luigi Einaudi, himself a former Assistant Secretary General of the OAS—from 2000 to 2005. Einaudi underscored his predecessor’s human values as well as his political and diplomatic acumen, which were also brought out by the member state representatives in their eulogies.

Ambassador Michael King of Barbados thanked the Permanent Council for the tributes paid to “a quintessential Caribbean man” who was knowledgeable not only about his region but also about the hemisphere at large. King recalled, as well, that Ambassador Val McComie’s efforts were instrumental in paving the way for Barbados’ entry into the OAS, in 1967.

Reference: E-122/07