OAS concerned about Campaign Financing
The Electoral Observation Mission coordinated by the Organization of American States has concluded its report on the March seventh dual elections. The team of twenty-two men and women, representing thirteen OAS member states, arrived in the country last Thursday at the request of the government to scrutinize the General and Municipal Elections. Members were deployed across various constituencies where they closely examined the pre-electoral process, the Election Day proceedings, as well as the tabulation and processing of results. Their observations include the strong involvement of women in the political process despite serious concerns that there were only three female candidates contesting the General Elections. Of equal concern is the lack of regulations as they relate to campaign financing. Undoubtedly, millions of dollars were spent by both parties to support campaign efforts. According to Frank Almaguer, Head of OAS Mission, recommendations will be made to enact legislation in order to control monies being spent on the political machinery.
Frank Almaguer, Head of OAS Mission
“The mission notes that political financing is unregulated in Belize. The current framework places no limits on campaign spending and does not require the disclosure of campaign contributions or expenditures. In order to allow voters to make a more informed decision and to ensure more equity in electoral competition, the OAS will recommend. The development of campaign finance legislation that addresses the gaps that exist. Obviously we heard allegations, we also heard explanations. We know for example and this I must say is not uncommon for political activists to make sure that their voters get out by having taxis hired or buses to make it convenient for voters to reach their polling stations. And obviously the activists sometimes receive lunch or other support but we did receive one allegation of or observation of a transaction which was not clear and we will be interviewing this observer in greater detail and also we will be analyzing it and anything else that we have to say will appear in both the verbal report that we give to the Permanent Council as well as in the final official report but that’s all really that I can say at this point.”Email This Story