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Permanent Council Received Report on EOM in Honduras

  May 7, 2014

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS), today received the oral report of the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) sent by the institution to the general elections held in Honduras on November 24, 2013, in a regular meeting in which the new Permanent Representative of Chile was also welcomed.

The oral report was presented by the Deputy Chief of Mission and specialist in the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO), Marcela Garzón, who reported that the Mission was composed of 82 technicians and observers from 23 member and observer states to the OAS under the leadership of the Chief of Mission, Enrique Correa, designated to the task by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza.

The report of the EOM congratulated the citizens of Honduras “who turned out with conviction and in a peaceful way on Election Day to exercise their vote,” and highlighted “the civic commitment of the Honduran people, which could be observed through the high voter turnout throughout the day, who cast their ballots in a peaceful manner.”

At the conclusion of the presentation, Garzón summarized the recommendations of the EOM, formulated “with the objective of strengthening the electoral institutions and processes in Honduras” and divided into five parts. In terms of electoral organization, it recommended consideration of a reform of the partisan composition of the electoral organ in all of its levels of hierarchy; carrying out needed reforms to the electoral law and the law on political organizations as pertains to polling places; carrying out reforms to ensure that credentials contain personal data; and improving the process of planning for the election to anticipate and comply with the requirements for the organization of the process in time and form.

As to the electoral census, it suggested “carrying out an audit of the electoral rolls to allow in a detailed way areas for improvement, and that allows for actions designed to lead to a refined mechanism for the next electoral processes.” On the transmission of results, the report proposes continuing improvements to the new Integrated System for Vote Counting and Transmission (SIEDE), and in particular including quality control points; carrying out tests of the application further in advance; improving the presentation of results on the website; improving telephone coverage at voting centers; and improving the process of hiring, training and coordinating the technical operators through the transmission and digitalization of results.

In terms of financing, the report warns of the need to consider reforms to the normative framework in accordance with the new configuration of political forces in the country; enable the TSE to regulate the verification and auditing of the presentation of periodic financial reports by the political parties; and create the electoral justice bodies necessary for the processing, research and application of the sanctions established in case of violations.

Finally, in terms of gender, it recommends that “in order to guarantee that the female representation quota is effective, and taking into account that the minimum percentage of participation was raised to 40%, consideration should be given to incorporating sanctions for those parties who do not comply with this quota.”

On behalf of the EOM, Marcela Garzón expressed gratitude to the Government of Honduras and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal for the invitation, as well as their collaboration with the Mission, and said “with this election, Honduras has closed a conflictive chapter in its history.” She said “the path of reconciliation driven by President Porfirio Lobo, the good disposition of former President Zelaya and the presidential candidate Xiomara Castro, and finally the collaborative spirit of all the Honduran political actors, have allowed a painful wound that deeply affected the country to be healed.”

The Permanent Representative of Honduras to the OAS, Leonidas Rosa Bautista, expressed his thanks to the EOM on behalf of the people and Government of his country, and highlighted “the effectiveness and contribution of the Mission to the certainty and verifiability of the results.” “We should assess the electoral observation in the proper measure of its potential to prevent internal conflict in our country and ensure that democracy is effective and works as a way to choose our legitimate leadership,” said Ambassador Rosa Bautista.

On another point in the agenda, the Council welcomed the new Permanent Representative of Chile to the OAS, Juan Pablo Lira Bianchi, who presented his credentials on Tuesday to Secretary General Insulza. Ambassador Lira Bianchi expressed the “irrevocable commitment” of his country to the strengthening of the Inter-American System “as the main tool of hemispheric cooperation in the promotion of peace, security, democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

“The OAS is a privileged place for acting collectively,” said the Chilean diplomat, “and ideologies should not interfere in this common path. We think that unity in diversity, when there are shared principles and values, is always possible.” Ambassador Lira Bianchi said Chile would work to maintain the relevance of the Organization, “because it gives us a legal, political and social heritage that we must preserve and ensure its legitimacy and cooperative coexistence with different referents which, by different routes, look to make sure our region is able to unite with the value chains presented by the contemporary world."

Ambassador Lira Bianchi reaffirmed the commitment of his government to the four pillars of the OAS – democracy, human rights, integral development, and multidimensional security – and emphasized the importance his country lends to the work of the Organization with civil society and its contributions to the “legal architecture of the Americas which feeds international law.”

In his conclusion the new Permanent Representative of Chile said “more than ever, we need an OAS at the service of the people and with the capacity to answer the new needs of our societies.” “We must have the vision to articulate the advantages and long history of our Organization, as the main political forum in the region,” he said.

The Chair of the Council and Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Jacinth Lorna Henry-Martin, welcomed Ambassador Lira Bianchi and assured him that “your academic training and experience are certain to complement the council’s deliberations thorough new and interesting perspectives on the topics of this Organization’s agenda.”

During the Council the representatives of Mexico, the Dominican Republic (on behalf of SICA), Ecuador, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (on behalf of CARICOM), Peru, Colombia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Canada, the United States, Venezuela, Honduras, Argentina (on behalf of ALADI), El Salvador, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Chile took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event will be available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-191/14