Bolivia

OAS renews support for Bolivian electoral process

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Reference: E-155/05
The Organization of American States' (OAS) Permanent Council today adopted a resolution saying the organization stands ready to provide Bolivia technical assistance with its elections. The OAS resolution also urges the political, social and economic sectors to continue engaging in broad-based dialogue in order to "strengthen the rule of law through free, fair, and transparent electoral procedures."

A special session of the Permanent Council adopted the resolution by consensus, after the Bolivian government's special envoy, Ambassador Marcelo Ostria Trigo, brought the forum of ambassadors of the Americas up to date on political and social developments in his country as well as on the country's electoral process. Ostria Trigo said the transition government appreciates the solidarity member states had expressed as it faced its difficulties.

According to the former Bolivian ambassador to the OAS, since 2003 a series of grave developments have unfolded, "clearly revealing a hidden crisis -- a political, social and economic crisis that unfortunately went unrecognized for too long and threatened internal stability and the rule of law.

"Coming on the heels of a crisis that is still punishing Bolivians, the elections scheduled for next December will be a tremendous economic sacrifice involving a lot of effort to prepare and conduct," Ostria Trigo told the OAS member state representatives. He asked them to "work along with a nation that is signaling democracy as its chosen style."

Stemming from the situation in the country, Congress has given the necessary approvals for general elections to be called December 4 to elect a president and a vice president as well as senators, deputies and prefects for nine departments in Bolivia's.

In welcoming the special envoy, Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Roberto Alvarez of the Dominican Republic underscored Bolivians' right to demand that each and every key political actor seek a "national pact whereby they solemnly pledge to respect the outcome of the December elections."

Following Ostria Trigo's presentation, several member state ambassadors reiterated their respective governments' support for moves by the Bolivian government to strengthen the country's democracy.

The OAS General Assembly issued a declaration of support for Bolivia last June 7, pledging to provide whatever technical assistance the country's legitimate authorities may request, in order to "facilitate dialogue as a means of surmounting the crisis and guaranteeing the preservation of democratic institutions."