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Year 1 No. 3 September - December 2008

Importance of the electoral trainning - Manuel Carrillo Poblano

Manuel Carrillo Poblano

Coordinator of International Affairs of the Electoral Federal Institute of Mexico




He is Licentiate in Political Science and Public Administration by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He has Masters of Political Science studies from the Colegio de México.   Specialized studies in Public Administration from the Instituto Nacional de Administración Pública, (INAP). From 1980 to 1992 he professionally developed in the public sector in areas of information, counseling in domestic policy and international policy.  Since 1993 is a member of the International Affairs Coordination of the Federal Electoral Institute (IFE for its Spanish acronym).

From the decade of the seventy of the last century began a political transformation in the world.  The governments whose origins were the dictatorships and authoritarian states exhausted their capital of legitimacy to govern the contemporary societies.  The new cultural and political plurality of the societies, specially of countries with medium economic development or with serious social inequalities, no longer accepted  the governability of leaders that had as base the inheritance of the power, the imposition by the force or the succession through an elite ruler.  This deep and gradual transformation demanded new formats to define who should govern it (the society).

The route which the great majority of the societies and political parties have opted is that of the democracy, having now as legitimacy base the elections.  In this way, the growth, extension and consolidation of the electoral practices in the world has been advancing.  From 1973 to 2003 93 countries moved towards democracy.  For that year, out of the 191 member countries of the United Nations, democratic elections with different standards of quality were carried out in 140 of them.  Currently, 213 countries exist; of which 200 have regulation to celebrate their elections, which turns the electoral theme in a central matter in the new legitimacy of the authorities that govern in different countries in the world.

Before this new international reality, the continuance and boom in the electoral practices have been increasing their importance.  Now the societies and the political parties do not only demand transparent, but fair and dependable elections in contexts of high competition for the power.  Before it, the professionalization of elections results in capital to comply with this new mandate of the society of the 21st century.

Even in circumstances where it has consolidated institutionality and an electoral practice, the complexity of the electoral administration and the accelerated rates of change are a permanent need for the strengthening and renewal of the electoral organs. The transformations of the conditions of the political-electoral competition, the technological innovation, the correlation of political forces and the change of electoral authorities by the completion of the legal period, along with the changes introduced by the processes of globalization in the political systems and regimes, among others elements, alter the process of reinforcing and the democratic consolidation of the electoral institutions. In that sense, the continuous improvement, revision and renewal are outlined as needs, not only for the electoral organisms recently created, but also for those with long tradition and experience.

The evolution of the new electoral needs such as the training in the subject creates new demands in the electoral international cooperation. This has been reflected in the different tendencies in electoral assistance: if a few years ago the emphasis was in the electoral observation as a privileged means to ensure the credibility and legitimacy of the electoral processes and their results, gradually the technical assistance to electoral entities, as well as the efforts in investments to expand and improve part of the electoral infrastructure.


Lately other topics have been demanding increasing levels of attention in some regions of the world: such is the case, for example, of the topics of presence and administration of money in politics and in elections, in the strengthening of political parties, and the transparency in the resources of the political parties, of the equitable access to the media, the professionalization of the electoral authority, and the expansion of the effective exercise of the citizens' rights.


Once again, these problematic demand new approaches in the international electoral training, where the strengthening of the local capacity of the electoral administrations passes from being exclusively technical and logistic, to qualify them as dependable referees of the electoral contest. 


In other words, the international support in electoral matters must reestablish its priorities and the ways of collaboration to contribute to the institutional strengthening. All this implies the permanent need to continue deepening in the field of the formation and the generation of knowledge, not infrequently highly specialized, and therefore, in the permanent professionalization of the services, the practice and the electoral assistance.


It is necessary to support the professionalization of the electoral services, looking to strengthening the electoral processes particularly, and the democratic governability in general; for that some ideas in matters of electoral training should be considered:


" To design and implement permanent and systematic programs of training and applied research in electoral matters.


" To share experiences, knowledge and electoral information in the international scope as means to efficiently generate, spread and apply the electoral knowledge available. The analysis in compared perspective allows knowing the factors that have influenced in previous experiences to make them successful.


" To promote the adoption of standards and practices commonly accepted, as well as the certification of specialized knowledge.


" To support and strengthen initiatives and inter-institutional efforts of professionalization of the electoral services, as well as of the permanent qualification of the electoral processes.


" To train officials and member officials of electoral agencies (political parties, mass media, groups of the civil society, legislators), according to the identified needs.


" To plan pedagogical events and of diffusion dedicated to the spreading of knowledge and experiences in electoral matter (seminaries, workshops, conferences).


The electoral training constitutes a strategic factor in the strengthening of the electoral organs whose social and political responsibility is greater each time for the stability and the democratic governability of our contemporary societies.