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OAS Inaugurates Meeting of Inter-American Electoral Authorities in Peru

  November 24, 2014

The Ninth Inter-American Meeting of Electoral Authorities, organized in Lima, Peru by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Peruvian National Elections Board (JNE) and the Peruvian National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), was inaugurated today in a ceremony that included the participation of Ambassador Hugo de Zela, Chief of Staff to the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza.

In his greeting to the participants from 23 countries of the Hemisphere that will meet until tomorrow, Tuesday, November 25 to discuss the organization of elections and exchange good practices on the issue, Ambassador De Zela, representing Secretary General Insulza said that "as electoral authorities, you have the ability to shape the future of your institutions. The discussions that will be generated will benefit from the wealth of diversity of our political and electoral, presidential and parliamentary systems, and strengthen the interactions between our nations."

The official of the multilateral institution recalled that one of the main objectives consecrated in the Charter of the OAS is the promotion and consolidation of democracy, as their effective exercise supports the principle of solidarity shared by the countries of the Americas. For this reason, he highlighted the nearly four decades of electoral observation missions carried out by the institution and described how they have evolved in their form and its mission, adjusting to the political and social changes experienced by the Hemisphere over this period.

In this way, he explained that from their basically symbolic beginnings, the electoral missions became required as guarantors of democratic transitions in many countries of the Americas. "This symbolic value acquired a significant amount of political legitimacy and it increasingly became necessary for electoral processes in the region to take place with the presence of election observation missions of the OAS as a sort of stamp of legitimacy of the process and therefore, the governments that emerged from them," said Ambassador De Zela.

The diplomat added that the current generation faces challenges related to the transition to an organizational culture focused on continuous improvement of electoral services, noting that since 2006 the OAS has worked in the field of "electoral quality," with technical support for installing quality management systems in electoral bodies and certification under ISO standards.

The representative of the General Secretariat of the OAS warned of the importance of other topics of the meeting, such as government intervention in the electoral process and the questions they raise, phenomena that have been increasing in recent years. "The danger that this entails is related to the perception that citizens have the transparency of politics, political parties, electoral processes and the performance of the electoral authorities in objective terms and how these practices debilitate the concept and practice of democracy: democracy loses force, credibility and support from our citizens," he said.

The Permanent Representative of Peru to the OAS, Ambassador Juan Jiménez Mayor, noted that "the electoral authorities of the Americas have a key ally in the Organization of American States." He noted in particular the work of the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation as example of the added value offered by the OAS in promoting and strengthening democracy in the hemisphere.

The head of the ONPE, Mariano Cucho Espinoza, said that the Inter-American meeting of electoral authorities held in Lima is a valuable opportunity to improve electoral processes by sharing experiences, and thus strengthen democracy. "The elections in our countries concern the entire region. Each of them with its peculiarities, its complexities, problems and innovations, is a learning opportunity for other countries. They serve not only as an affirmation of democracy, but also as a valuable reference point on how the electoral rules and institutions work in the region," he said.

The President of the National Elections Jury, Francisco Távara Cordova, upon inaugurating the meeting said "for a while now there has been a sustained effort of electoral bodies of the countries to present their experiences in their own countries to implement improvements in electoral matters. This is very positive for the countries of the region. And the work of the OAS is to consolidate a space for mutual enrichment in electoral matters to give rise to discussion and analysis."

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-509/14