Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Catalan diplomacy participates in election observation mission in Costa Rica


Barcelona (ACN).- The Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (Diplocat), with the collaboration of the City Council of Barcelona, has participated in an observation mission in Costa Rica for the presidential and parliamentary elections which were held last Sunday. According to a press release, Diplocat deployed 8 electoral observation experts on the ground to visit 50 polling stations across Costa Rica. In their report, Diplocat have congratulated the people of Costa Rica and the Elections Supreme Court (Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones) for their peaceful and well-organised electoral process. However, they also underlined the existence of inequalities between political parties during the campaign, especially regarding access to the media to promote their political agendas. In this regard, the report recommends establishing free slots for election campaigning purposes in the public media, as well as securing new debate formats that will involve all candidates. By participating in such missions, Diplocat takes on the Catalan Government’s electoral observation activities. With such missions, Catalonia reasserts its commitment to promoting peace and strengthening democracy worldwide. 


The Costa Rican Elections Supreme Court called several international organisations for observing the various phases of the election process. The Court authorised the participation of Diplocat, along with other organisations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), Buenos Aires’ Ombudsman (Defensor del Pueblo de Buenos Aires), Guanajuato’s Electoral Institute (Instituto Electoral del Estado de Guanajuato, Mexico) and the Canadian Embassy in Costa Rica. All in all, according to Diplocat’s press release issued on Tuesday, 102 international observers have participated in the mission.

The Catalan electoral observation mission was led by Dr. Josep Maria Reniu, the Programme and
A polling station in Costa Rica
Research Head of the Political Science Department at the University of Barcelona (Universitat de Barcelona), whose specialty is introducing new technologies in electoral processes. He was joined by experts in electoral observation. Altogether, Diplocat has deployed 8 observers who have visited 50 polling stations in the provinces of San José, Alajuela, Heredia, Puntarenas, and Cartago.

In his provisional statement, Diplocat congratulates the people of Costa Rica and the Elections Supreme Court for their peaceful and well-organised electoral process. However, it also highlights the need to strengthen the implementation of all aspects covered by the legal framework. The report also reveals the existence of inequalities between different political parties during the campaign, especially regarding access to the media to promote political agendas. In this regard, the report recommends establishing free slots for election campaigning purposes in the public media, as well as securing new debate formats that will involve all candidates during the election campaign.

Furthermore, the report also mentions that although campaigning on the very Election Day is a deeply rooted practice in Costa Rica, it should be avoided within the polling stations, and so should the participation of minors.

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