PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19
REPORT OF IPU DELEGATION
At its 153rd session in Canberra on 18 September 1993, the Inter-Parliamentary Council decided to send a mission to observe the electoral process in El Salvador. The Council resolution states that the mission "will observe all relevant aspects of the organization and conduct of the elections and will report on its observations and findings as to whether the elections were carried out in conformity with the Electoral Law for El Salvador".
The Council also decided that the mission would be conducted in two stages: a first mission would visit El Salvador early in February 1994 to observe the organization and conduct of the election campaign; a second mission would visit the country for one week coinciding with the end of the election campaign, polling day (20 March) and the final vote count and announcement of the results.
For the first part of the mission, an IPU delegation composed of Deputy José Rodríguez Iturbe (Venezuela), President of the observer mission, Deputy Kristina Svensson (Sweden) and Deputy Federico Mekis (Chile), visited El Salvador from 1 to 9 February 1994. Mr. Marcelo Bustos, Officer in charge of Relations with Latin America who had been to El Salvador previously to prepare the mission, acted as Secretary to the delegation.
During its visit the delegation interviewed the President of the Legislative Assembly, the President of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, representatives from the various political parties, in particular Presidential candidates Mr. Armando Calderón Sol (ARENA), Mr. Fidel Chavez Mena (PDC) and Mr. Raúl Zamora (FMLN/MNR Democratic Coalition), and the Co-ordinator of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), Mr. Jorge Schafik Handal. It also interviewed members of the Diplomatic Corps (Group of friends of the UN Secretary-General), representatives of the Church including the Archbishop of San Salvador, Mgr Arturo Rivera y Damas and Lutheran Bishop Medardo Gómez of the World Council of Churches. The delegation also held meetings with a number of Salvadorean NGOs which are assisting in the electoral registration process.
The delegation was received by the head of the United Nations Observer Mission for El Salvador (ONUSAL), Mr. Augusto Ramírez Ocampo, who gave full support and helped to arrange, through the Electoral Division, for a detailed information session on 2 February and an interesting programme during the weekend of 5 and 6 February which enabled the delegation to visit several areas of the Departments of San Miguel, La Unión, La Paz, San Vicente, Cuscatlán and Usulután, and observe part of the election campaign and, in a number of cities and villages, the special days organized for collecting electors' cards, known as "Megajornadas de carnetización" which are described in more detail below.
In all its interviews, visits and other activities, the delegation kept in mind the provisions of the Electoral Law, since they constitute the basis of its terms of reference. The present Report consequently comments on how the Electoral Law is being observed and applied.
The report begins with a brief description of the general situation and the recent history of El Salvador and it goes on to examine the electoral process in two chapters: the first looks at the institutional framework, i.e. the electoral law, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the status of the Electoral Register at the time of closure. The second chapter deals with the election campaign: the parties registered, the general climate and the events, with reference to the relevant provisions of the Electoral Law. Lastly, the report sets out the delegation's conclusions, including recommendations for the second stage of the mission.
Finally, the members of the delegation wish to place on record
their gratitude to all those who received them and facilitated
their work in El Salvador.
1. The Peace Agreements signed on 16 January 1992 by the Government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), provided the basis for ending twelve years of political and military conflict which caused the loss of some 75,000 lives, the displacement inside the country of approximately 500,000 people and the exodus of almost a million Salvadoreans.
2. The first major and direct step in the peace process was the signing of the San José (Costa Rica) Agreements which reflected the need for human rights to be scrupulously observed. For the first time the Government of El Salvador and the FMLN guerillas signed an agreement and thereby laid one of the cornerstones for the subsequent creation of the United Nations Observer Mission for El Salvador (ONUSAL) by Security Council resolution N° 693 of 1991.
3. Later, Security Council resolution N° 729 extended ONUSAL's mandate, giving it a new military observer division and a police observer division which enabled it to obtain significant results in monitoring the implementation of the Agreements signed in Chapultepec, Mexico.
4. In addition, and as a result of the parties' undertaking to promote a general reform of the electoral system, which led to the adoption of a new Electoral Law, an Electoral Division of ONUSAL was established to monitor the electoral process before, during and after the elections. The activities and procedures of the above Division are based on the fundamental premise that the highest authority in all matters relating to the conduct of the electoral process is the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
5. The important task performed by the ONUSAL Electoral Division
is essential to a better understanding of what has been achieved
in the electoral process since the Peace Agreements were signed.
In the first, or preparatory stage, ONUSAL concentrated on organizing
the Division at central and regional levels which involved, amongst
other things, preparing the necessary databases, examining registration
problems, and establishing contacts with the civilian and electoral
authorities and the leaders of the political parties at national
and regional levels.
6. Pursuant to the Peace Agreements, the Legislative Assembly enacted a new Electoral Law in December 1992 which was published in the Official Gazette on 25 January 1993 and came into force, in accordance with section 365, eight days later, i.e. on 2 February 1993. The purpose of the Law is to regulate the activities of the electors, the electoral bodies, political parties and State activities that concern the electoral process (section 1).
7. Section 54 establishes the electoral bodies: (1) the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, a collegiate body; (2) the Departmental Electoral Boards; (3) the Municipal Electoral Boards; (4) the "Vote-receiving" Boards.
8. Title V, Chapter I, section 55, defines the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) as the highest authority in electoral matters. It has full jurisdictional, administrative and financial autonomy and consequently depends on no State body.
9. The TSE is composed of five judges elected by the Legislative Assembly. Three of them are proposed by the political parties or coalitions represented in the Legislative Assembly, and the other two are elected by a two-thirds majority of the elected deputies, from a list of three candidates proposed by the Supreme Court of Justice. Accordingly, political parties not represented in the Legislative Assembly, inter alia the FMLN, are not represented in the TSE. However, Chapter II of the Electoral Law, entitled "Right of Permanent Supervision" establishes a Supervisory Board (Part II) which is: (section 139) "... a body of a permanent nature responsible for supervising the activities and running of the dependencies and bodies of the Tribunal ..." and shall be composed of: (section 140) "... a titular delegate and an alternate appointed by each of the legally registered political parties".
10. Chapter I "The Electors", states in section 9 that voters must be (1) citizens of El Salvador; (2) enrolled on the Electoral Register; (3) have full civil and political rights; (4) identify themselves by means of an elector's card and appear on the corresponding Electoral Roll issued by the Tribunal in accordance with the Electoral Register.
11. A study therefore had to be conducted to assess the status of the Electoral Register and what percentage of the population had the necessary electoral document (elector's card). According to the study, there were approximately 750,000 people of voting age (18 years) in June 1993, who were not on the Electoral Register.
12. The TSE therefore set about updating the Register in accordance with section 79, Chapter I, part VI and issuing "directly to the data processing centre or through its officials precise instructions concerning the Electoral Register, Electoral Rolls and electors' cards."
13. The TSE will continue with this important task until the closure of the Electoral Register (originally planned for 20 December 1993 but extended until 12 midnight on 19 January 1994 by Official Decree N° 755 amending section 30 (4), (5) and (6) of the Electoral Law). The amendment, which was approved by the Legislative Assembly, aimed to increase participation in the elections and create the necessary conditions for more extensive enrollment on the Electoral Register.
14. The enrollment process known as "carnetización" (issuing the elector's card), got off to a slow start largely owing to serious shortcomings in the organization and infrastructure of the TSE. In July and August 1993 the Tribunal received applications to enroll on the Electoral Register, which are known as "SIRES", from only 50,000 of the estimated 750,000 people of voting age without electors' cards. There was concern in various sectors at both national and international levels, that the "carnetización" process should be accelerated. In September and October as a result of the TSE's efforts and, undoubtedly, the support and assistance of ONUSAL, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs), approximately 400,000 new applications were filed.
15. It is important to note that the registration system (sections 21 to 29 of the Electoral Law) is a complex one: first, would-be voters must file an application to enroll on the Electoral Register and return one month later to claim their electors' cards. At that time, the card (which still has the status of "file") is inserted into a camera and comes out as an electoral card bearing the applicant's photograph and is handed over to him. The difficulty arises when the contingency referred to in section 28 (2) occurs. This provision states that if the application is not "endorsed" by the National Register of Natural Persons (i.e. if there is no record of the applicant's birth), enrollment on the Electoral Register is refused. The applicant is informed of refusal and the reasons therefor not later than thirty days after the date of application, and has the right to file a new application.
16. Many problems arose as a result of the above and they were compounded by the fact that the TSE had technical and material difficulties in meeting deadlines for issuing "files" (electors' cards) and for notifying absence of "endorsement" (30 days). The task is even more difficult because El Salvador has no central exhaustive National Register of Natural Persons. Consequently, the TSE has had to ask the municipality indicated in the application to provide the "endorsement" (i.e. a copy of the birth certificate). For various reasons, including the fact that many local government offices were totally or partly destroyed during the war, together with their birth registers, and that some municipalities were slow to answer the TSE, etc., the registration process was and still is (at the time of the IPU mission's visit) beset by delays and difficulties.
17. To overcome the difficulties a number of private computer and photocopy companies were brought in and ONUSAL lent technical and logistic support, thus making it possible to put a large number of birth certificates on computer so as to provide the "endorsement" for the applications that had been turned down.
18. The reasons for the delay in claiming electors' cards are also many and various. For example, some of the "files" correspond to earlier registration applications and have been waiting to be claimed since 1991; the recently established TSE has not always been able to meet the thirty day deadline for issuing the cards or, where necessary, notifying to the persons concerned the reason for the rejection of their applications, with the result that many people came to claim their cards more than once, some of them from remote areas. Consequently, with just over a month to go before the elections, ONUSAL is making an all-out effort, and the TSE is organizing press campaigns and radio and television announcements to encourage people to claim their cards and turn out for the elections on 20 March 1994.
19. It was to overcome the above difficulties that the TSE, with support from ONUSAL and various NGOs launched the "megajornadas". They are held at weekends in previously determined Departments and inhabitants are informed well in advance that they may collect their electors' cards. The delegation was able to observe "megajornadas" in various municipalities in the Departments of La Paz, San Vicente and Cuscatlán.
20. The official number of SIRES filed between 1 July and 19 November 1993 was 787,834 (November 20 was the deadline for applications under the Electoral Law). This figure indicates that there was significant interest on the part of the people, many of whom came to collect their cards in circumstances that were not always easy. Out of the total indicated, 469,098 were first applications, 85,560 amended applications and 229,800 re-applications.
21. At the date of reporting there were 2,653,871 names on the Roll, of which 2,171,805 corresponded to cards issued in previous years, and 482,066 to "files" which could be converted into Cards once ready, if and when they were claimed. At the time of the delegation's visit, according to the above figures the number of Cards issued accounted for just over 80 per cent of the population of voting age. It was hoped that some 2,300,000 people would be eligible to vote - i.e. 85 per cent of the population of voting age.
22. The delegation wishes to point out that, despite the foregoing, it is expected that there will be approximately 2,700,000 names on the "Electoral Roll". The difference of 400,000 can be accounted for by several factors: it has been impossible to check the Roll completely since it still includes the citizens who are now deceased, or who have changed their names (married women who hold a card both in their maiden name and a more recent card in their married name); there are Salvadoreans living abroad who hold a card but will not travel home to vote; and, more particularly, many of the files that have been produced (some of them in 1991) will not be converted into cards because they have not been claimed.
23. In conclusion, it is estimated that approximately 95 per cent of people of voting age are on the Electoral Roll. However, in terms of electors' cards actually in the possession of citizens who are alive and resident in the country, the figure will be approximately 85 per cent, but this figure will have to be checked by the second delegation, when it arrives in El Salvador, since the deadline for claiming electors' cards is 12 March 1994.
24. The delegation was able to note that the TSE distributed copies of the provisional Electoral Roll to political parties, and to NGOs which can thus assist in checking that the registrations are in order and, if they are not, in lodging the appropriate complaints.
25. In some of the former conflict zones there have been complaints of "files" not being in order: either the TSE has not provided a permanent service or it has not had the necessary equipment to carry out its functions - particularly the cameras used in producing the electors' cards. These shortcomings have been pointed out to ONUSAL which has forwarded the information to the TSE so that it can solve the problems promptly. It is important to note that the TSE is required to operate seven days a week.
26. Clearly, there is still much to be done before the Electoral Register is completed and thoroughly checked, but first a centralized Civil Register or National Register of Natural Persons will have to be established. The work already done will no doubt serve as a good basis for such a Register.
27. Lastly, the fact that some 60,000 SIRES will be turned down
because of failure to produce birth certificates is not an impediment
to the proper conduct of the electoral process, bearing in mind
the various difficulties reported above. On the basis of accounts
and opinions given by different sectors and political leaders,
the delegation considers that no sectors have been excluded, and
notes that the four largest cities in El Salvador account for
54 per cent of the SIRES rejected. So while the problem is more
significant in the former conflict zones it cannot be considered
as inherently prejudicial to a fair process.
28. The Electoral campaign is governed by the provisions of Title IX, Chapter II, of the Electoral Law entitled "Electoral Propaganda", which provides that "electoral propaganda is a right of duly registered political parties or coalitions" (section 227).
29. Section 228, fourth paragraph, makes it unlawful to use election campaigns to impair the morals, honour or privacy of candidates or leaders, living or dead.
30. The Law also regulates political publicity in the media and the convening of meetings, events and demonstrations (sections 229 to 236). In the delegation's view, besides the provisions of the Electoral Law regulating electoral publicity, there are other important factors that should be noted. For example, the various political parties in the running meet regularly under ONUSAL auspices and, in nine of the fourteen Departments, they have already signed a "Political Parties Code of Conduct" in which they give a favourable assessment of the electoral campaign to date and note with satisfaction that the present process is an improvement as compared to elections prior to the Peace Agreements (see appended Political Parties Code of Conduct, Department of Cuscatlán).
31. Furthermore, the amended Electoral Law banning the publication of surveys or forecasts during the fifteen days preceding the elections, i.e. as from 5 March 1994, will no doubt contribute to achieving or maintaining a (more) peaceful climate as the election date draws near.
32. On arriving, the delegation noted that the election campaign was running smoothly, that the general climate was peaceful and there was little mobilization. It was only in the last few days of the mission that the campaign which, up to then had been relatively quiet, was stepped up and party publicity appeared on pavements and walls.
33. On Saturday 5 February ONUSAL provided the delegation with a helicopter and it was able to visit the north and east of the country, particularly the so-called former conflict zones, and observe one of the presidential candidates campaigning in a village.
34. Some sectors pointed out that they lacked the means to run an election campaign, which may partly explain the fact that the campaign got off to a quiet start. Furthermore, an estimated 30 to 40 per cent of voters are undecided and some observers think that certain parties are saving their means and efforts until the last few days of campaign.
35. While noting that the general climate of the campaign was orderly, the delegation has to report that in previous months there were a number of crimes which may have been politically motivated but that, fortunately, they appear to have stopped in the last month. There were fifteen murders which, it is suspected, may have been politically motivated. In the last week of October 1993 two former commanders and four former guerillas of the FMLN were killed. In November four ARENA activists (a councillor, a former Mayor, the brother of a Mayor and an activist) and two FMLN activists were killed. In the first week of December a former FMLN commander and the brother of an FMLN municipal candidate were killed and a young MSN activist was killed in January.
36. The killings are being investigated by the Joint Group established on the United Nations' initiative to investigate illegal politically motivated armed groups.
37. There are also acts of violence and intimidation but it is difficult to determine their motives and origin because El Salvador has a high crime and delinquency rate. Consequently, although certain events may take on political relevance in the context of the electoral campaign they must be investigated with extreme care.
38. The acts of violence mentioned above, as well as other acts and occurrences reported to ONUSAL and the TSE, took place not in the electoral campaign itself but on the fringes. The delegation did not observe any acts of political violence, though it did hear of a few minor disturbances. On leaving the country it can state that, at the institutional level, the political climate is quiet.
39. The elections of 20 March 1994 are to elect the President and Vice-President of the Republic, Deputies to the Legislative Assembly, Deputies to the Central American Parliament and members of Municipal Councils.
40. The official dates for the opening of the election campaigns were as follows: 20 November 1993 for the President and Vice-President of the Republic, 20 January 1994 for the Legislative Assembly and the Central American Parliament and 20 February for the municipalities. Propaganda campaigns are to stop "... three days before the elections and on the day of the elections. Nor will party propaganda be allowed at polling stations" (section 230).
41. Seven presidential candidates were registered when the list was closed (sixty days before the date set for the elections, section 196 of the Electoral Law):
42. Section 261 of the Electoral Law provides that after the final vote count the Tribunal declares as President and Vice-President elect of the Republic the candidates nominated by the political party or coalition who have obtained an absolute majority of the votes, i.e. 51 per cent of the valid votes cast. The same section specifies that, if such a majority is not attained, a second election will be held not more than thirty days after the result of the first election has been declared final, and that only the two political parties or coalitions with the most votes will take part.
43. There are nine political parties in the running for the Legislative Assembly and municipal elections. Most of them are represented in the present Assembly:
The following parties are not currently represented in the Legislative Assembly:
44. It is interesting to note that there are no coalitions for the Legislative Assembly elections. As regards the Municipalities (262 in all) parties frequently stand on their own but in some cases, which vary according to the region, there are coalitions. However this does not occur in large cities except for San Salvador, the capital, where there is an FMLN-MNR candidate.
45. During its visit and in the course of the various interviews the delegation held it received no major complaints concerning the election campaign and was able to note that the procedure for the lodging of complaints with the TSE against alleged infringements of the provisions of Title IX, Chapter II, of the Electoral Law, was properly observed, as mentioned previously.
46. The social media, pursuant to section 229 of the Electoral
Law, have informed "the Tribunal of the rates they charge
for their services. These rates shall apply to electoral propaganda".
There have been no exclusions from freedom of assembly or the
regulation of the convening of meetings, events and demonstrations
in public places for electoral propaganda purposes, and authorizations
have been issued in accordance with sections 234, 235 and 236.
47. The delegation wishes to emphasize that it visited El Salvador at a time when the country was attempting to move as smoothly as possible from a culture of war and division to one of peace, reconciliation and consensus. This is undoubtedly a difficult task and there have been many set-backs and problems, some of them serious. However, the delegation wishes to point out that the problems were overcome thanks to the determination of all the political protagonists and that, with ONUSAL support, remarkable progress has been made in implementing the Peace Agreements.
48. Nonetheless, much remains to be done, particularly in sensitive areas such as the restructuring of the Police services (National Civilian Police), the distribution of lands to former combatants of the Army and the FMLN and the reintegration of demobilized combatants. The delegation therefore wishes to express its conviction that, once the elections are over, the international community must continue its support so as to contribute to consolidating not only peace but also the newly elected representative institutions.
49. In the context of the foregoing, and if the new Legislative Assembly so wishes, the delegation hopes that the Inter-Parliamentary Union will be able to contribute its experience and co-operation through its Technical Assistance Programme.
50. As said earlier, despite the delays, many of them foreseeable, in implementing certain provisions of the Peace Agreement, and despite the tensions and difficulties inherent in the peace process, the delegation was able to note that progress continues and that the foundations for the transition to a culture of peace are being laid. The electoral process and the elections of 20 March will be a fundamental stage which will give rise to other equally important tasks, including supporting and strengthening representative democratic institutions.
51. The delegation noted a real determination to achieve peace, reflected in the search for consensus which will enable participation in the forthcoming elections to be as extensive and as clean as possible. This determination is revealed by the fact that the Electoral Law was amended in order to regulate electoral propaganda, extend deadlines for the registration of candidates and, particularly, extend the deadline for closure of the Electoral Register.
52. Thanks to this same determination, when 129,500 (28 per cent) of first-time applicants out of the total of 469,098 were unable to produce birth certificates, several plans were implemented to overcome the problem. In the records offices of the 62 municipalities with the most serious difficulties, 295,000 photocopies were made of birth registrations of all persons born between 1943 and 1975. At the same time the other municipalities looked for birth registrations corresponding to individual SIRES that had been turned down, and in the last phase photocopies were by-passed and the municipal records were consulted directly. The plans were most successful thanks largely to the support and assistance of ONUSAL.
53. Thus, as the Electoral Register closes, the delegation wishes to acknowledge the joint efforts and work of the TSE, ONUSAL, UNDP, the NGOs and other institutions and persons. Results have exceeded expectations and the Electoral Register produced by this tremendous endeavour is the broadest and most extensive the country has ever had.
54. Consequently, the delegation concludes that the status of the Electoral Roll is satisfactory and wishes to record that all the political parties have found the results obtained to be acceptable and even welcomed them.
55. Nonetheless, the TSE will have to do its utmost to overcome the remaining difficulties and ensure that all the available files are distributed in the municipalities indicated in the SIRES. This is particularly important for the municipal elections and in municipalities where the results of the election may be determined by a small number of votes.
56. In this connection the delegation was surprised to note that in the municipal elections, the list that obtained the most votes also obtained all the municipal offices, namely Mayor, Treasurer, 2 councillors and alternate ministers (the number of offices varies according to the size of the population, - section 13 of the Electoral Law), which meant that the Municipal Council was controlled by a single political party or tendency. This is a tradition in El Salvador and it could be a source of friction and frustration among those sectors of the population which, while they may be in the minority, wish to see their opinions expressed at the level of the municipality and at the same time have the right to monitor or follow municipal decisions.
57. In view of the foregoing the delegation expresses the hope that the development and consolidation of peace and the present political climate will enable Salvadoreans in the future to appreciate the advantages of a system of proportional representation in municipalities, since municipalities constitute the very foundations of citizens' representation and an invaluable school for dialogue, consensus and state management and administration.
58. The delegation, while acknowledging the significant and outstanding work done by the many NGOs present in El Salvador, both in civic education and in assisting the TSE, in getting the population first to register and more recently to claim their cards, the work done to check registrations, file complaints, etc., noted that some of them had affinities with one or other of the political parties in the running.
59. In view of all the foregoing and aware of past, present and
future difficulties, the delegation wishes to state that, owing
to the significant results obtained and the capacity of the Salvadoreans
and their leaders to overcome problems as they crop up, it is
optimistic and considers that the election campaign and the electoral
process in general are being conducted with the public interest
in mind and in observance of the Electoral Law.
60. The delegation wishes to note a number of points that the members of the second stage of the IPU observer mission should check.
61. When the delegation left El Salvador on 9 February, the TSE had still not appointed the General Supervisor referred to in Chapter II, Part V, of the Electoral Law and who is responsible for, inter alia, "(1) The administrative, financial and technical supervision of activities, the use of material, operations, processes and offices of the Tribunal with a view to ensuring that the activities are carried out efficiently and are lawful and honest, as well as the proper use of resources, and shall report on all the foregoing to the Tribunal;".
62. According to the information received by the delegation, the appointment was to be made within the next few days. However, the mission considers that it is essential to check whether the appointment has been made, to ensure that in accordance with section 93 (1) the elections are lawful and honest.
63. Moreover, the appointment of the General Supervisor would complete implementation of the regulations establishing the institutional structure of the TSE and would apply an essential chapter of the Electoral Law, guaranteeing the legitimacy and validity of the election.
64. The delegation expresses concern at threats to strike by the officials of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. With only a few days to go before the elections such a strike would compromise the delivery of electors' cards ("files") which are still being processed. It hopes that the talks now under way will enable the problem to be solved and avoid an interruption of the TSE's work, which would impair the rights of citizens who have not yet received their cards.
65. The delegation considers that the official bodies should organize a civic education programme, particularly in view of the country's high rate of illiteracy. The elections of 20 March are relatively complex, since voters will have to use three different voting slips, the first for the election of the President and Vice-President of the Republic, the second for the election of Deputies to the Legislative Assembly and the Central American Parliament, and the third for the municipal elections.
66. Lastly, the delegation considers that the members of the second
stage of the mission should check on the investigations being
conducted by the Joint Group into the killings by the illegal
politically motivated armed groups.
POLITICAL PARTIES CODE OF CONDUCT
For reconciliation and a fair electoral process
We, the political parties participating in the electoral process in the Department of Cuscatlán, share a favourable evaluation of the election campaign to date and note with satisfaction the improvements as compared to electoral processes prior to the Peace Agreements.
Aware that elections must be a mechanism for reconciliation and an integrated society, we express our wish for a constructive campaign and one which is a positive response to the population of Cuscatlán.
We are familiar with the existing laws on the maintenance of public order and mutual respect during the electoral process. In addition, as evidence of our conviction and our determination that the campaign shall be fair, we wish to express our full acceptance of these laws.
Therefore, CONSIDERING that the election campaign must:
WE HEREBY AGREE:
1. To ensure that our leaders, members and followers do not engage in actions which violate the electoral laws, and to recall this intention from time to time in our bases and in our instructions and recommendations.
2. Not to impair full enjoyment of the freedoms of expression, assembly and association with a view to disseminating political ideals and principles freely. To do our utmost to respect the public order, avoid intimidation, acts of violence, either physical or verbal, and damage to property. To spare no efforts to ensure that electoral meetings and events are organized properly in order to avoid disorder and violence. Above all, to try to ensure that in public demonstrations, nobody carries or uses firearms or arms of any other nature, offensive objects or any other object capable of inflicting physical damage to persons or property.
3. To ensure the respect of persons. In speeches, radio programmes, pamphlets, the press, posters, political meetings and campaign announcements, not to engage in propaganda which offends the dignity of any candidate or group of candidates. To avoid the use of slanderous or injurious language or language which incites violence against other parties. To avoid discrediting persons, parties and institutions taking part in the electoral process. Not to accuse candidates or political parties of unlawful acts unless we can substantiate such accusations.
4. To instruct our members, candidates and grassroots activists to respect the electoral publicity material, logos, emblems and other means of identification of other political parties. We will disseminate this agreement widely.
5. To ensure equitable sharing of the free public spaces (such as posts) in which the electoral law allows displaying, painting and posting of publicity material. To emphasize periodically in our handbooks or instructions that our members and sympathizers must not:
6. To inform the population of our specific proposals on problems of concern to them such as crime, the high cost of living, unemployment, the administration of justice, consolidation of the rule of law and the modernization of institutions. To issue clear messages which really assist citizens in deciding whom they wish to represent them in the community and the nation and encourage them to participate in voting. To promote the development of a climate of trust among the political forces involved in these elections, the electoral system and the institutions of the nation. We all agree that this political campaign must be a civic celebration and will do our utmost to ensure that it is. To organize, to the extent possible, debates on specific subjects.
7. To remind mayors currently in office that other parties have the right to use public places for their campaigns and, consequently, the right to obtain the necessary authorization.
8. To recommend to our representatives in each of the municipalities that they hold inter-party meetings and to adopt the necessary mechanisms (for example, undertakings such as the present one) to ensure that the principles set out above prevail.
9. To recall in our meetings that the people who have applied for electors' cards should claim them. We also undertake to issue messages that encourage people with electoral cards to vote, and to instruct voters on the voting procedure.
10. To resolve, to the extent possible, by means of mutual understanding, any complaints of breaches of the present understanding. If this procedure proves fruitless, we shall record in writing every violation of our campaigning rights, with all available evidence, and send them to the electoral institutions (with a copy to ONUSAL), without abusing our right to complain and without resorting to false testimony. The electoral institutions shall decide on the procedures for reparations and compensation.
We request the TSE to speed up the processing of the SIRES so that applicants may collect their cards without delay.
The following are the signatures of the representatives of the
political parties of Cuscatlan, 4 February 1994.
ONUSAL is witness to the foregoing commitment of the representatives
of the political parties and will monitor compliance with it.