Mission of foreign visitors in Mexico presents preliminary report

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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO – The Mission of foreign visitors of the Organization of American States (OAS), headed by professor and electoral expert Fernando Tuesta Soldevilla, greets the people of Mexico following the holding of the presidential recall referendum on Sunday, April 10.

The Mission highlights that the voting day took place peacefully and congratulates the National Electoral Institute (INE) for organizing the process, despite the challenges it had to face. Likewise, it highlights the civic commitment of the thousands of citizens who served as members of polling stations on Sunday.

The Mission, which arrived in the country in stages from April 1, was made up of 14 specialists of 8 nationalities. During its stay in Mexico, the Mission held meetings with electoral authorities, associations promoting the recall exercise, groups for and against the recall, leaders of national political parties, as well as academics and civil society to hear their perspectives.

The figure of the recall referendum was introduced in the Mexican Constitution from the reform approved in December 2019, through which Mexico became the fourth country in Latin America to adopt this mechanism for the popularly elected position of highest authority. The Mission followed up on key aspects of the process, such as: the regulatory framework, the procedures for its activation, the formulation of the question, electoral organization, the use of technology and cybersecurity, the electoral justice system, the vote abroad, the dissemination of information and freedom of expression.

Based on the observation made by the specialists of the Mission, the analysis of the documentation and the meetings held, the Mission today presents a preliminary report that includes a series of observations and recommendations that seek to contribute to the improvement of future exercises of direct democracy.

Based on the experience accumulated over six decades by the OAS in electoral matters, the Mission considers that the Mexican electoral system is characterized both by its strength in the administration of the elections and by having a robust electoral justice system, with specialized authorities in their field. Although any electoral system can be improved, the Mission considers that any reforms that are introduced should aim to strengthen the organizations and not reduce their autonomy. The Mexican political system and society as a whole benefit from having solid, professional and impartial electoral institutions.

The Mission appreciates the collaboration provided by the authorities and officials of the National Electoral Institute, the Electoral Court of the Federal Judicial Power and the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crimes, as well as the representatives of political parties, civil society and academia, who showed total openness with the OAS Mission and allowed it to do its work. Likewise, it thanks the ministry of foreign affairs for its consent to the deployment of this Mission under the standards of autonomy and independence established in the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities signed.

The Mission is also grateful for the financial contributions of the governments of Brazil, Canada, South Korea, the United States and the Dominican Republic, which made the deployment of this Mission possible.

The figure of the Mission of foreign visitors, contemplated under Mexican law in paragraph 2 of article 44 of the General Law of Electoral Institutions and Procedures, enjoys the same functions, privileges and immunities established in article 24 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter for the OAS Electoral Observation Missions.

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