MANAGUA – The Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Nicaragua recommended on Tuesday a complete electoral reform in this country, which last Sunday held municipal elections won handily by the ruling party.
EOM/OAS chief Wilfredo Penco of Uruguay said upon reading the preliminary report of Sunday’s municipal elections, which he described as making “important progress” though with “the typical weaknesses of any process,” but which, in any case, “have not substantially affected the will of the people as expressed at the polls.”
The ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) won 135 of the 153 city governments being contested, including Managua, in the municipal elections last Sunday, with final results in from more than 98 percent of the polls.
The Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) announced that the Sandinistas also won control of 15 provincial capitals and the two main cities of the country’s autonomous regions.
In the report, the EOM/OAS said “the opportunity exists to strengthen the legal, technical, procedural, technological and human aspects of Nicaragua’s electoral process.”
“The Nicaraguan electoral system would benefit from an electoral reform... that tackles a number of different aspects,” Penco said
“What is needed is a permanent judicial and administrative framework that gives greater confidence and a sense of security to political parties and voters alike,” he said.
He said the EOM/OAS made a thorough analysis of the process for the purpose of contributing to the constant improvement of Nicaragua’s electoral system, which was presented the authorities with a series of preliminary observations and recommendations.
Among them he mentioned poll organization, training in electoral technology, the use of technology in electoral logistics, ballots and providing access to the results.
Other considerations were the purging of voter rolls, resolving electoral disputes, political-electoral financing, political inclusion, women’s participation and the participation of civil society.
Penco said the mission will soon present a complete report to the OAS Permanent Council, to Nicaragua’s Supreme Electoral Council and to all involved in the electoral process.
The EOM/OAS gradually deployed starting Oct. 9 a team of 60 observers, regional coordinators and experts, and on election day observed the organization and operation of the Vote Reception Committees, and how the voting and vote-counts went.