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Elections in Paraguay.

THE PRESENCE of the OAS Electoral Observation Mission, headed by Secretary General Ambassador Joao Clemente Baena Soares, during the electoral process in Paraguay contributed, without doubt, to the solidification of the democratic path that the Paraguayan people have chosen.

Ninety observers from countries throughout the Hemisphere performed a variety of tasks before and during the elections which took place on May 9. The observers were deployed from offices in Asuncion, Caacupe, Concepcion, Coronel Oviedo, Ciudad del Este, Encarnacion, San Juan Bautista and Villarrica. Observers will remain in Paraguay until Congress officially announces the newly elected candidates. But the OAS Secretary General made it clear that it was not the objective of the Mission to proclaim winners in the election.

Ambassador Baena Soares explained that the OAS, as it has done in other observer missions, produced a projection of the results (using a representative sample of voting tables) that will serve as one of the elements in the Secretary General's final report to the Permanent Council on the conduct of the election. He also reported that the projection reached by the OAS specialized team coincided with the trends that were identified by the Central Electoral Board.

Baena Soares reaffirmed the opinion he expressed on election night that the massive popular participation of Paraguayan citizens in the elections demonstrates their civic conscience and democratic outlook. He went on to say that in the great majority of the locations observed, the important procedures and norms of the Electoral Code were respected: the voting was carried out in a general environment of tranquility and security; the vote was free and secret; indelible ink was used to indicate that an individual had already voted; and the great majority of the voters experienced no impediments to voting. Most of the voting tables were comprised of representatives of the principal political parties, and pollwatchers and designated party representatives were present at voting places. The transparency of the ballot counting at observed tables can also be confirmed. In general, the irregularities that were identified were not sufficiently grave nor generalized to call into question the validity of the elections.

The Secretary General lamented the fact that Paraguayan citizens residing in neighboring Argentina and Brazil were not able to exercise their civic rights. He added that he personally made efforts to address this issue, as well as intervening to assure the repair of the telephone service of SAKA (a private organization supported by various European countries and the U.S.), whose parallel voting computations were delayed by disturbances in the lines.

A definitive report will be presented to the Permanent Council of the Organization once the final results of the election are determined.
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Title Annotation:OAS Electoral Observation Mission attends Paraguay's election
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:May 1, 1993
Words:444
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