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OAS Mission to Federal Elections Notes Progress in Participation of Women in Political Activity in Mexico

  September 2, 2015

The considerable increase in women's political participation and efforts of Mexican legislators to reform the rules on political financing were among the main findings of the OAS Mission sent to the federal elections held on June 7 in Mexico.

The report, presented today to the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States by the Chief of Mission, former President of Costa Rica Laura Chinchilla, acknowledged the efforts made through " an in-depth political and electoral reform approved by the Federal Congress in 2013 and 2014, which amended the Constitution, introduced new general election laws, and created the National Electoral Institute (INE), granting the national electoral authority new and greater powers.”

Among its findings, the Mission, made up of 58 international observers with different specialties and from various nationalities, highlighted the increase in votes for female candidates, which means that 43% of the seats in Congress will be filled by women, compared with 37% in the previous legislature.

On the amendment to the laws of political financing, the Mission acknowledged the changes which seek to "provide greater fairness to the elections and reduce the cost of electoral campaigns." At the same time, it recommended the incorporation of " clearer regulations regarding private financing of independent candidates."

The OAS Mission also recognized the joint efforts of public authorities and poll workers to overcome the challenges presented in the pre-election period, which included the takeover of 11 INE District Boards in Oaxaca by members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE); the burning of electoral materials in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan and Oaxaca; and violent attacks against INE offices in Puebla and Chiapas, among other incidents.

The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Nestor Mendez, said the vast political experience and hard work of former President Chinchilla " were critical in ensuring the success of this mission," adding that " we are all acutely aware that election observation is one of the signature activities carried out by our Organization and that this is immensely valuable for our democracies. The importance of these missions cannot therefore be overstated, and I want to thank all those countries that contributed funding to make this mission possible."

For his part, the Permanent Representative of Mexico to the OAS, Emilio Rabasa, thanked the General Secretariat of the Organization for having accepted the invitation of the INE and the Federal Electoral Tribunal, responsible for conducting the election process. He also acknowledged the work of the Secretariat for Political Affairs of the OAS, represented by Francisco Guerrero, and the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation, headed by Gerardo de Icaza, in the successful completion of the Mission. Ambassador Rabasa especially mentioned the high turnout of Mexican voters, which approached 50%.

Reference: E-225/15