BRASILIA – The head of the first-ever OAS election observation effort in Brazil was received on Wednesday by President Michel Temer.
“It was a courtesy call, especially to express gratitude that the Organization of American States has been invited to Brazil for the first time to observe its electoral process,” former Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla told reporters afterward.
The OAS mission is made up of “some 50 to 60 people,” who will be deployed throughout the country one week ahead of the Oct. 7 balloting, Chinchilla said.
According to Chinchilla, the observation mission will remain in Brazil if, as it appears likely, a runoff is needed to decide the presidential contest.
The second round of voting would take place on Oct. 28.
Chinchilla, who governed Costa Rica from 2010-2014, has participated in previous OAS electoral missions in Mexico in 2015, in the United States in 2016, and in Paraguay in April.
She said that the mission will observe several aspects of the electoral process, including organization, voting technology, campaign financing, and voter turnout, especially among women.
Chinchilla avoided commenting on one of the election’s most crucial issues, namely the fact that former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is leading the polls, though he is currently serving a sentence for corruption.
While the odds are against Lula’s being able to appear on the ballot, his Workers Party has nominated him as its presidential candidate.
The Superior Electoral Tribunal has until Sept. 17 to rule on whether Lula – by far Brazil’s most popular politician – can compete in the election.