Leonel Fernández: OAS sees “with concern” violence in Mexican elections

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The Organization of American States sees “with concern” the violence in the Mexican electoral process, but trusts that the authorities will take steps so that the day of July 1 passes in peace, said today the head of the observation mission, Leonel Fernández

The atmosphere of marked violence, which up to now has left some 130 political assassinations – among them those of 27 candidates – has clouded what will be the largest electoral process in the history of the Latin American nation.

“We are concerned, but confident that action will be taken and the process will be carried out in an appropriate manner, with absolute respect for the right of citizens to exercise suffrage,” the mission’s observation mission in Mexico said in an interview with Efe. and former president of the Dominican Republic.

The members of the mission, who began their work in the country last week, have been able to talk with authorities, especially public security authorities, and they have let them know that they will carry out “extraordinary” preventive actions “to facilitate the voters can go to the polls. ”

The OAS will deploy, in 25 states of the country, 60 experts and observers from 23 countries.

The selection of the venues where the members of the group will be belongs to a “random sample that has indicated that they are the most appropriate places to be present,” Fernández said.

From there they will make a substantive analysis of the electoral process in terms of electoral organization and technology, campaign financing, electoral justice, political participation of women and indigenous peoples, and electoral security.

In its previous visit, during the 2015 federal and state elections, the OAS had to suspend its observation mission in the southern state of Oaxaca, citing security reasons.

Fernandez hopes that a similar situation will not happen again in these elections: “For those previous experiences we prepared ourselves better, to be able to face any unpredictable contingency on the occasion of the electoral contest.”

As for an eventual fraud, another of the old ghosts that plans on the electoral process, the former Dominican president refers that, to address this concern, the National Electoral Institute (INE) has prepared an “electoral technology that is quite sophisticated.”

The electoral body has sufficient materials, as well as experts, to deal with “any type of interference or hacking that may exist”, and has undertaken other actions to ensure that in the scrutiny and dissemination “transparency is guaranteed” .

Fernandez defends that in other occasions the OAS has accumulated “complaints and complaints”, and has always “informed the authorities so that they can make any decision” in this regard.

This electoral process is the largest and most expensive in the history of the country. Next Sunday will call 89 million Mexicans to the polls to choose some 3,400 public officials, including those of the country’s president, deputies and senators.

These high figures are a challenge in terms of transparency, but the head of the OAS mission points out that this is compensated by a “greater participation of the authorities.”

The coordination between federal and local agencies, he noted, will make possible “a distribution of work that will do this (on election day) viable.”

For the first time, an independent candidate (Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, alias “el Bronco”) is one of the contenders in the race to Los Pinos.

The head of mission argues that “the fact that there could be independent candidates in this electoral process was a step forward in democracy.”

Although this process will take “lessons” to improve, this is an aspect that does not exist in other Latin American countries, where there is a “monopoly of the parties” as regards the election of public office.

This will be the fourth mission that the OAS deploys in Mexico after observing the elections in 2009, 2012 and 2015.

The president of the INE, Lorenzo Córdova, said today in an interview with Efe that the violence “is not impeding the elections”.

He indicated that the context of insecurity in the country “is not new, unfortunately” and said that Sunday will be, despite everything, a successful day.

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