The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, and the Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the OAS, Diego Pary, signed today the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities for the Electoral Observation Mission (EOM) to be deployed to the general elections to be held in the country on October 12.
During the ceremony, that took place at OAS headquarters in Washington DC, Ambassador Pary recalled that “OAS Electoral Observation Missions are very important for our countries, considering that a democratic process is based on the participation of citizens in the elections." In this regard, he highlighted the role played by the Organization through these missions and stated that "in 32 years of democracy in Bolivia we have had elections that have increasingly grown in terms of public participation."
"Over the last 10 years we have had 7 elections in which the OAS has played an important role by ensuring transparency, participation, integrity and reliability," said the Permanent Representative of Bolivia, and concluded by thanking the hemispheric institution on behalf of the Bolivian people for its contribution to help strengthen democracy in this country.
For his part, Secretary General Insulza recalled the institution's commitment to democracy and electoral processes in the Hemisphere commenting that in the case of Bolivia, "every time a mission is deployed, it has been possible to verify the progress made and we are confident that this time will be no different. "
The leader of the hemispheric Organization recalled that "since 1994 we have deployed 14 electoral observation missions in Bolivia, the most recent was the election of the highest authorities of the judiciary and the constitutional court in 2011; the departmental and municipal and general elections in 2010 and the referendum for the approval of the new constitution of 2009."
"As we know, during the elections of next October the Bolivian people will elect the President and Vice President, 36 members of the Senate and 130 members of the House of Representatives," said the OAS leader, and announced that to lead the Mission he has appointed former President of Guatemala Alvaro Colom, and stressed his experience and commitment to democracy. Insulza concluded by expressing that "we hope to have once again a satisfactory process as we know the democratic vocation that characterizes Bolivia and we congratulate the country for this new step towards strengthening its democracy."
The agreement signed today responded to the request received on May 13 from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, asking the OAS to deploy an Observation Mission for the November General Elections.
A gallery of photos of the event is available here.