INE asks to protect the independence and autonomy of electoral authorities at the Global Summit of Democracy

Lorenzo CordovaCounselor President of the National Electoral Institute (INE), explained that in the framework of the Global Summit on Electoral Democracyinternational organizations and electoral authorities agreed on the urgency of building an alliance to defend and stop the deterioration of electoral integrity, the harassment of the authorities in charge of organizing the elections and stop the use of polarization as a political strategy.

Among the participants stands out the ONU; the OAS; the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe; the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES); International IDEA; the Kofi Annan Foundation; the A-Web Association; the African Union; the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (UNIORE) and the Center for Electoral Assistance and Promotion (CAPEL).

Preceded by regional forums in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, which took place between June and August, the Global Summit on Electoral Democracy developed its work September 20 to 22having as host the National Electoral Institute of Mexico.

“From all regions and from different contexts, it has been emphasized that the impartiality and independence of electoral bodies are fundamental components for preserve and strengthen the democratic order. The full exercise of political rights and the integrity of the elections depend to a large extent on said independence from political power,” Córdova stressed.

Among the contributions derived from this unprecedented effort, the following stand out:

  1. The democracy It is valued in all regions of the world as the form of government and social coexistence that protects individual and collective freedoms and rights.
  2. The problems of democracy can only be solved with more and better democracy. Despite the difficulty in responding to today’s prevailing social needs, democracy continues to be the best bet that contemporary societies can make.
  3. The persistence and exacerbation of many structural problems has generated a loss of confidence in democratic institutions and a fertile ground for the emergence of political forces and leaderships with strong pauthoritarian and populist influences.
  4. The tendency towards the concentration of power has the perverse effect of reducing or suppressing the spaces necessary for a critical and informed public debate and for the full exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms, such as those of association and expression. On the other hand, it sponsors attempts to control or capture autonomous institutions that are essential for the effective surveillance of state activities.
  5. There is a strong consensus around the need to face these challenges in a collective and coordinated manner, joining the efforts of the broadest spectrum of institutions, organizations and sectors that believe in democratic ideals and values.
  6. The impartiality and independence of the electoral bodies and the broadest guarantees for the exercise of political rights and for the integrity of the electoral processes are essential elements for the preservation and strengthening of the democratic order.
  7. Some efforts to undermine the independence and impartiality of electoral bodies are perceptible, so there is agreement on the need to build support networks to defend electoral integrity, combat and denounce harassment of electoral authorities and counteract the questioning of legitimacy of the elections through narratives of alleged fraud.
  8. There is also a general consensus that it is necessary to promote citizen training and education in democracy. Free and transparent elections are not being accompanied by a systematic and vigorous effort at democratic education and civic education.
  9. The violence, in its many forms and expressions, looms as a threat to democracy and, in some regions, the presence of organized crime has become a disruptive factor that threatens civil liberties and the free exercise of political rights. It is urgent to make a common front in the face of this challenge.
  10. The efforts are recognized and the need to continue promoting actions to promote gender parity in terms of political participation and representation and to prevent, combat and eradicate gender-based political violence is advocated.
  11. Fake news and disinformation campaigns they have an enormous disruptive potential that tends to erode democratic coexistence and make the actions of the electoral authorities and the guarantors of electoral integrity more complex. Hence the importance of adopting preventive and proactive strategies, with full respect for the freedoms of expression and information, and assigning responsibilities to the actors for their actions.
  12. Contemporary society is increasingly plural and diverse. Democratic systems must be as inclusive as possible and guarantee the political rights of different social groups, women, youth and marginalized minorities such as indigenous peoples, migrants, people with disabilities, communities of sexual diversity, among others.
  13. The organizations promoting the Global Summit on Electoral Democracy agree on the importance of giving continuity to this effort of reflection, analysis and proposals for the strengthening of electoral democracy and they commit to carry out the consultations and necessary steps to fulfill this task.
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