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Year 1 No. 3 September - December 2008

Elections and Democracy in the Americas

Elecciones y democracia en las Américas

Por: José Miguel Insulza

Without holding universal, free, fair, and periodic elections there is no democracy. It is an irrefutable truth nowadays, but one that for a certain period, half way through last century, even the most progressive people of our region came to doubt, distinguishing between "formal" democracy and "real" democracy. Formal democracy referred to electoral democracy, freedom of expression, fredoom of press, and political parties, things we took for granted. Real democracy was the one that went to help citizens satisfied their basic needs.

The horrible experiences lived during the last decades of the past Century, during which different types of dictatorships ended up drowning almost every possibility of citizen expression in our continent, showed that there is no such difference between formal and real democracy. We were taught that democracy is only one, that its first component is free, fair, and competitive elections in a climate of complete freedom and full respect for human rights, and that it is also integrated by freedom of expression, political parties, freedom of press and all those freedoms lost for years, and that took us so long to recover. Complete article

The Invited Pen


Por: Aristides Royo

At the beginning of the Nineties, the political panorama of the Latin-American countries began to enjoy a positive transformation, consistent in the exhaustion of the dictatorial or autocratic governments and the rise of democratic states. For the consolidation of these processes, it was necessary that the elections, which in some nations had fallen in disuse, were carried out in an inclusive, clean, competitive way, and they were the suitable instrument for the access to the main public offices.

In accordance with such principles and in accordance with the aims and objectives that in this matter the OAS has drawn up, was created within what today is the Secretariat for Political Affairs of this multilateral organization, the Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation, commonly known as DECO. Complete article

Electoral reform and women participation in Panama: hurdles and challenges - Magíster Ceila Peñalba Ordóñez


Por: Magíster Ceila Peñalba Ordóñez

In the last fifteen years, women have contributed with their work inside political parties, and this way they have managed their nomination to hold a position of popular election. Their interest and struggle to include in the electoral law a guarantee that would allow them to be nominated for positions of election within their political parties has been a constant.

In the Republic of Panama, the year 1992 indicates the antecedent of the gender topic when Dr. Gloria Moreno de López, by then Legislator of the Republic, formally presented a legislative proposal known as "system of quotas", or "minimum percentage of female political participation" to the positions of popular election within political parties. Complete article

The electoral registry and the territorial criterion

El registro electoral y el criterio territorial

Por: Dra Magdalena Chú Villanueva

Years 2006 and 2007 constituted an intense period of organization and implementation of electoral processes in Latin-America. This period also discovered the diverse aspects of the administration of electoral processes over which is convenient to reflect to further guarantee an adequate exercise of the right of suffrage of the citizens.

One of such aspects is related to the electoral registries, the same that provide the electoral roll, which constitutes a basic element in the electoral processes, defining who has the possibility to vote. Complete article



Editorial(Spanish version)

Reader Friends:

Once again with you in this third Edition of Electoral World that promises to be as interesting as the previous two.

We have the honor to include an excellent feature article of the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) José Miguel Insulza (cover picture) entitled "Elections and Democracy in the Americas".  Who would be better than him to offer us a perspective of the challenges that our America in the strengthening of the Democracy has lived, and the role that has played and will continue to play the OAS as the highest Continental Regional Organization.  Also, and always within the scope of the OAS we count with the segment The Invited Pen, with a fascinating contribution of the Permanent Ambassador of Panama before said Agency Aristides Royo, entitled "The OAS Electoral Missions as seen by a Panamanian Ambassador".  Both articles, along with being complemented in content, will allow our readers to have an extensive image of what is being developed and implemented in this Agency as the true of the regional democratic political scale. Complete article 

Between Columns


Dr. Andrés Sosa Clavel

The growth of the presence of the political parties in the electoral campaigns in the Internet has been global and fast since its origins in the elections of the North American congress in 1994, with some candidates inaugurating their Web pages (which at the time were no more than simple showcases with a copy of some pamphlet or poster).

The slogan "yes is possible" was invented by a publicist of the campaign of the Colombian president Belisario Bethancour. From Colombia it travelled to Panama for the campaign of the current President Martin Torrijos, and from Panama it curiously travels to the United States to be used in the electoral campaign for the presidency of the democratic candidate Barak Obama. Complete article


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