Participants of the IX Ibero-American Conference on Electoral Justice. (Photo Credit: TEPJF)
The ninth edition of the Ibero-American Conference on Electoral Justice was held in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico from November 8 to 9 2017 with the theme "New trends to ensure fairness in the electoral contest in Ibero-America".
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The conference brought together representatives from 12 Ibero-American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Spain, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Uruguay. The meeting was sponsored by the Electoral Tribunal of Justice of the Mexican Federation (TEPJF, for its Spanish acronym) in collaboration with International IDEA and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
During the inauguration ceremony, the presiding judge of the TEPJF, Janine Otálora Malassis pointed out that those who are part of the Ibero-American electoral justice bodies have a big task ahead to recover citizens´ confidence in democracy. She added that, to achieve this, the electoral justice bodies must rise above political power, maintain their independence and autonomy, as well as maintain clarity and consistency in the legal criteria to resolve electoral disputes and ensure compliance with the Constitution in political-electoral matters.
The regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean of International IDEA, Dr Daniel Zovatto, highlighted the role of electoral justice as an indispensable element to consolidate the quality of democracy, as well as to inject trust and provide integrity to the electoral processes. In this line, Dr Zovatto invited the participants to continue working together to promote democracy of quality, elections with integrity, and an electoral justice system that is independent, transparent, and effective.
He also highlighted that during the next two years, 14 of the 18 countries that make up the region will hold presidential elections in what could be considered a super electoral cycle. This calls for more frequent meetings between the members of the Ibero-American community to create spaces for dialogue and reflection that emphasize the relevance of electoral justice in strengthening a quality democracy and electoral processes with integrity.
Previous editions of the Conference were held in Dominican Republic (2009), Panama (2010), Ecuador (2011); El Salvador (2012); Dominican Republic again (2013), Mexico (2014), Peru (2015) and Brazil (2016). During these years, the Ibero-American Conference has made it possible to highlight three fundamental aspects of the work of electoral justice in the region: the training of technical cadres on electoral law and electoral litigation; the compilation, systematization and dissemination of Ibero-American electoral jurisprudence; and the strengthening of ethics and transparency in the field of electoral justice.
The conference which was held over two days, was composed of an inaugural panel on new trends to ensure fairness in elections, participated by Lourdes González Prieto, Director of the Paraguay program of International IDEA, and four panels on rule of law and democratic integrity; new challenges of money in politics; the uses and customs of indigenous peoples; new challenges for the political participation of youth and gender equality in Electoral Justice. The meeting was also attended by Frank McLoughlin, Program Officer of the Electoral Processes Program at the International IDEA headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.
At the end of the two days, the participating countries issued a joint resolution by signing the Declaration of San Miguel de Allende, ratifying their commitments to equity as a guiding principle for electoral justice in the Ibero-American region.
Videos of the Conference, including all the panels can be found here.