OAS electoral observation mission returns to Guatemala ahead of June election

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Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General Luis Almagro (R) with presidential candidate and former first lady Sandra Torres (m) in Washington. April 7, 2019 | Photo: @Almagro_OEA2015

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — The electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) returned to Guatemala for a preliminary visit ahead of the June 16 elections.

This is the second time that the mission is in Guatemala before the general deployment, which will begin June 5.

In the coming days, the chief of the mission, former president of Costa Rica Luis Guillermo Solis, will meet with electoral authorities, the government, the supreme court, the constitutional court, candidates and other actors, in order to learn their impressions about the electoral process.

The mission will request meetings with all the candidates and political actors.

In a tweet, last month secretary-general of OAS, Luis Almagro, called for “transparent” Guatemalan elections “without influences or external factors, including from International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).”

Meantime, the political situation is traversing, democracy as the best option for ensuring peace, security and development. The Guatemalan private sector is concerned about economic uncertainty remaining low, following reports from the Banco de Guatemala specifying that after February 2019 the confidence in economic activity index in Guatemala reported a year-on-year decrease of 8 percent. In March the variation was -6 percent regarding the same month in 2018.

Director of the Central American Institute of Political Studies, Rubén Hidalgo, explained ” …the result (of the Index of Confidence in Economic Activity) presented, is the effect of the electoral campaign and that it responds to the political environment. At this moment the uncertainty of the possible investors is put in the development of the elections and who could be the winner.”

On the matter of business confidence not rebounding, Pedro Barnoya, director of the Association of Binational Chambers of Guatemala (Ascabi), said, “It is time for political parties to present their government programs, especially economic ones and so far there is nothing clear to generate confidence.”

The June 16 election is the 19th that the OAS observes in Guatemala since the first one, which occurred in 1970. And since 1962, the OAS has deployed over 240 electoral observation missions (OAS/EOMs) in 27 countries throughout the continent. The missions have progressively expanded the scope of their work through the implementation of methodologies that allow the analysis of key aspects of the electoral cycle such as gender equity in political campaigns, political financing systems, access to media and participation of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples.

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