OAS Mission’s Report on Elections 2012 Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00

OAS Press ConferneceThe General and Municipal Elections were being monitored by a contingent of 23 observers from the Organization of American States. According to Frank Almaguer, Head of Mission, the observers visited about 85% of the polling stations across the country and followed the process until the votes were counted. On Thursday, March 8, the team presented an initial report to the media.

They commended the Elections and Boundaries Department for “the incorporation of new procedures to have large polling areas serve as counting stations and to simultaneously count multiple boxes.” Almaguer said that this was “a more efficient counting process that prevented excessive delays.” They were concerned that the Elections and Boundaries Department took long to deliver the official results to the public. The mission also raised concerns about what they call electioneering. They want to discourage the practice of wearing party shirts and campaigning outside of the polling stations. According to Almaguer, this practice “produced less than a conducive environment for the voting process”. One observer even witnessed a party activist distributing money to a group of people that had just voted. This only confirms what many have already mentioned: the People’s United Party was trying to buy their way to Belmopan. 

In light of those few concerns, the mission concluded that “democracy has its complications”. Overall, the elections were free and fair to the satisfaction of the mission. Almaguer said, “There is a chance for people to vote; there is a chance for those votes to be counted; and there is a chance for the various political groups to make sure that those votes are counted in a way that meets the test of fairness and objectivity.” 

The mission will present a detailed report of their findings and recommendations to the Organization of American States.Almaguer thanks the different authorities and political parties for being warm hosts.