On Monday, 22 August 2016, the Superior Tribunal of Electoral Justice (STEJ) of Paraguay, the European Union Delegation in Paraguay and the Mission of International IDEA, gathered at the headquarters of the STEJ to coordinate joint actions with an objective of cooperating on the institutional strengthening of the electoral organ. The proposal is to collaborate on issues such as the control on the use of government resources by political groups, the use of private funding for electoral campaigns, as well as strengthening the inclusion of citizens in the electoral process.
The Head of Cooperation of the European Union in Paraguay, Robert Steinlechner, stated that the joint collaboration continues between the STEJ, International IDEA and the European Union on the assistance to the electoral processes, which began in 2013 at the request of Paraguay. "This work restarted in 2015, focusing on two institutional components with the STEJ, and we appreciate them having us onboard. In addition, we are interested in promoting the participation of vulnerable groups in the electoral processes, especially women participating actively and passively, as well as in promoting an informed vote and transparency in the proceedings."
He also stated that the aim is to finalize the projects to test them and "we had many advances in the work with the electoral justice. No doubt, it is moving forward and we support the institution, "he stated.
The Regional Director of International IDEA for Latin America and the Caribbean, Daniel Zovatto, noted the importance of implementing programs for the strengthening of political financing controls, gender equality, inclusion of indigenous populations and other aspects of Electoral Justice. It was indicated that IDEA will support tasks related to the simultaneous internal elections that will be held next year and the general elections of 2018. "We are very pleased to be able to carry out this program together with the European Union, to achieve the institutional strengthening of the Superior Tribunal of Electoral Justice, which plays a fundamental role in the Paraguayan democracy. Not only the quality of democracy, but also the integrity of the electoral process in which there is the issue of financing of electoral campaigns and the promotion of the participation of women and indigenous peoples" Zovatto said.
Zovatto also commented that the collaborative meetings started a few months ago and said that International IDEA has been working with the European Union in other countries on these same issues. "These programs have to do with the institutional strengthening of the Electoral Justice, which plays a key role in improving not only the quality of democracy, but particularly the integrity of our electoral process," he said.
The General Coordinator of the Advisory Commission on Political Finance of the Superior Tribunal, Edmundo Rolón, shared details of the year-long process during the meeting of the Political Finance control program, for which they received recommendations based on other countries’ experiences on the issue. The proposal would be to use those recommendations to improve the national system. He said, "The STEJ as governing body to judge all kinds of elections in the country is honored to start the implementation of the program to control the finances of Political Parties and Movements".
Also during the press conference after the meeting, he explained, "the program will be presented to international experts, for them to provide relevant advice in the case of the substantial modifications. In addition, we will exchange experiences with international delegates, to know their views based on their knowledge. "