Image credit: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Panama. From left to right: former President of Panamá, Mr. Martín Torrijos; the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Federico Alfaro Boyd; the Regional Director for Latin America and The Caribbean of International IDEA, Dr. Daniel Zovatto; and the First Vice President of the Electoral Tribunal, Magistrate Eduardo Valdés Escoffery.
Last Friday, on November 27, the Host Country Agreement for the establishment of International IDEA´s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Panama City was signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). Panama´s admission as a member state of International IDEA came into force on December 9, 2018.
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On behalf of the government of the Republic of Panama and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Vice Minister Federico Alfaro Boyd, expressed that IDEA has been key for strengthening democracy and improving electoral institutions in Panama, hence the signing of this Agreement in the context of COVID-19, overcome the hurdles the pandemic imposes. On behalf of the Secretary-General of International IDEA, Dr. Kevin Casas- Zamora, Dr. Daniel Zovatto, Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, expressed IDEA’s satisfaction establishing IDEA´s regional headquarters in Panama and reiterated the institution’s commitment to continue working for the integrity of electoral processes and the improvement of the quality of democracy, not only in Panama but also in Latin America and the Caribbean.
In this ceremony, former President of the Republic of Panama, H.E. Martin Torrijos, and the First Vice President of the Electoral Tribunal, Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, participated as honorary witnesses.
On November 24, in preparation for the signing of the Host Country Agreement, the Electoral Tribunal of the Republic of Panama, represented by its President, Heriberto Araúz, and International IDEA, represented by the Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Dr. Daniel Zovatto, signed a cooperation agreement that allows IDEA to establish its regional office at the Electoral Tribunal´s headquarters in Panama City. The Regional Office of International IDEA will formally begin its functions on February 1, 2021.
Image credit: Electoral Tribunal of Panamá.
During the signing of this agreement, First Vice President of the Electoral Tribunal, Eduardo Valdés Escoffery, representing the TE, stated that there is a great challenge, at the regional level, for strengthening democracy and electoral processes and that the signing of this agreement occurs at times when it is necessary to be efficient and effective.
The Regional Director of IDEA for Latin America and the Caribbean highlighted and recalled the strategic alliance that IDEA has had with the TE for long years; an alliance that this agreement strengthens and consolidates and, at the same time, creates the conditions to launch a joint center of excellence, aimed at facilitating the exchange of good practices, applied research, training and technical assistance in electoral matters at the regional and international level.
It should be noted that both institutions, based on the successful joint work started in 2018, recently signed a technical cooperation agreement (2021 and 2022), with a view on the Panamanian general elections scheduled for May 2024.