(TELESUR) – The chair of Ecuador’s National Electoral Council (CNE), Diana Atamaint, said that the Organization of American States (OAS) “did not respect” the country’s rules in a 2018 national referendum and, as a consequence, will not be invited to observe local elections scheduled for Mar. 24, 2019.
According to Atamaint, the OAS’ mission in Ecuador was meant to monitor the legal terms which were used to call the elections, not the electoral process.
Atamaint also added that Ecuadorean electoral norms have changed and that now international observers are not permitted to interview CNE officials, national authorities, party leaders or candidates; nor will observers be allowed to register or report disputes, irregularities or conflicts during the upcoming elections.
Wednesday, the OAS denied that there was any violation of Ecuadorean standards during the 2018 elections.
The body further explained that the 2018 OAS observation mission fulfilled its work obligation “in strict compliance with the agreement of immunities and privileges signed with the Ecuadorean Government as well as with the agreement of procedures signed with the CNE.”
“As a candidate, I express my concern because the Ecuadorean authority, the CNE, refuses to invite the OAS as an observer of the elections on March 24. Transparency is the fundamental principle to ensure that the popular vote is respected.”
The OAS expresses regret that the Ecuadorean authorities had decided to not invite the mission to observe the upcoming elections and shared concern at changes in the country’s monitoring regulations.
“I would like to express our concern at your statements regarding changes in the regulations for electoral observation in Ecuador, which would establish that observers will not be able to conduct interviews… Nor will they register and report disputes, irregular situations or conflicts.
“The foregoing would preclude any kind of independent and impartial electoral observation,” Gerardo de Icaza, director of the OAS Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation, said in a letter addressed to Atamain.
The officer recounted that the OAS has deployed some 20 electoral observation missions in Ecuador since 1968, all of which has contributed to the strengthening of the Ecuadorean electoral system.