The head of the Electoral Observation and Political Accompaniment Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS), the former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Óscar Arias, begins this weekend a visit to Asuncion, to promote dialogue between the different Paraguayan political and social actors, and to prepare the deployment of the Mission that will monitor the general elections of April 21.
Arias, designated to lead the Mission by the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, will be in Asunción until February 27 and his agenda includes meetings with Paraguayan government officials, ministers of the Superior Court of Electoral Justice, presidential candidates, party officials, members of the diplomatic corps and media outlets.
The OAS Mission aims to facilitate the convergence of all Paraguayans sectors around a common agenda to strengthen democracy in the country and contribute to the holding of free, transparent, inclusive and equitable elections in April. To that end, during this visit the Agreement on Observation Procedures will be signed with the Electoral Tribunal and a mobile group of observers will be installed which will maintain direct contact with the actors in the electoral process throughout Paraguay during the next two months. The final deployment of the Electoral Observation Mission of the OAS will occur in the weeks immediately prior to April 21.
The Costa Rican Nobel Prize Winner has expressed interest in using this visit to Paraguay to hear the views of political actors about the current Paraguayan electoral process. At the same time, he will take the opportunity to advocate for a constructive and transparent campaign process that facilitates national consensus building, both before and after the elections.
Contrary to Mercosur and Unasur, the OAS did not sanction Paraguay following the removal of Fernando Lugo from the Executive, triggered by an overwhelming majority in the country’s Senate.