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OAS TO HOLD MEETING IN CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA, ON POLITICAL PARTIES

  November 20, 2003

More than 100 political leaders from around the hemisphere will participate in the third annual meeting of the Inter-American Forum on Political Parties, which will begin this Sunday, November 23, in Cartagena, Colombia.

The three-day meeting, convened by the Organization of American States (OAS), will examine issues related to political party reform and campaign financing, with a view to strengthening democratic governance in the region.

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and OAS Secretary General César Gaviria will open the meeting, along with Canada’s Ambassador to the OAS, Paul Durand. Participants include two former Peruvian Presidents, Alan García and Valentín Paniagua, as well as more than 30 political party chairs of different political leanings. Electoral authorities, academics and representatives of international and non-government organizations are also scheduled to participate.

The high cost of political campaigns and the need to improve financial transparency are among the central issues that will be discussed, along with the growing disillusionment that citizens feel toward political parties and politicians. Panels will also look at case studies of political reforms that have been undertaken in Colombia, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Central America.

“There is an awareness across the region that political party reform is a priority for strengthening democracy, as stated in the Inter-American Democratic Charter,” said Elizabeth Spehar, Executive Coordinator of the OAS Unit for the Promotion of Democracy. “This high-level event will enrich the dialogue on these issues, and help us build and promote an inter-American agenda for reforming and modernizing parties and party systems,” she added.

The Inter-American Forum on Political Parties was created to fulfill mandates related to political reform established by the heads of state and government at the last Summit of the Americas, held in 2001, and in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, adopted that same year. The Inter-American Forum’s first two annual meetings, held in Miami in 2001 and Vancouver last year, also brought together high-level participants from across the region.


For more information about this event, please contact Janelle Conaway by e-mail (jconaway@oas.org) or by cellular phone (as of Saturday, Nov. 22) in Cartagena: (57) 315-355-9391.

Reference: E-226/03