Within the framework of the International Day of Democracy that is celebrated every September 15, the Embassy of Spain in Paraguay, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the European Union and civil society organizations gave Learn about the Sakã 2022-2023 citizen observation initiative, for which the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) contributes 230,000 euros.
Sakã, a word in the Guarani language that means “transparency”, is an initiative that proposes the articulation of civil society organizations, awareness, training and mobilization of a network of volunteers through a process of citizen electoral observation, with the that seeks to promote the active exercise of citizenship through informed accompaniment, participation in the control of the electoral process and contribute to the improvement of electoral participation at the country level. This will make it possible to encourage the participation of those traditionally excluded and underrepresented, such as women and youth.
Salvador Romero Ballivián, director of the International IDEA Paraguay Program, argued that the Sakã electoral observation platform is a form of active exercise of citizenship by the hundreds or perhaps thousands of volunteers who will participate.
While thanking the fundamental and decisive support of the Spanish Cooperation, Romero maintained that the initiative “is also an opportunity for the active participation of young people, women, indigenous people in rural communities, who are going to be the ones to put the participation of these hundreds or thousands of volunteers who are going to be deployed on election day in 2023, but who are going to start working from this year ”.
For her part, the Spanish ambassador to Paraguay, Carmen Castiella Ruiz de Velasco, said that the International Day of Democracy is an occasion to commemorate, value and, above all, not take for granted a way of life and to understand coexistence, which Unfortunately, it has not always prevailed in time and in the world. “That is why we believe it is important to remember today the necessary involvement of citizens, of all civil society to make that ideal of democracy a reality,” she said.
He stressed that Spain’s support for this electoral observation initiative by civil society is part of his country’s firm commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
He mentioned that the Spanish Cooperation has been promoting a series of meetings throughout the Latin American and Caribbean region to bring together actors from all countries to generate a reflection “For a new social contract. Renew democracy so as not to leave anyone behind”.
She also recalled that, in Paraguay, the Spanish Cooperation is working to promote the political participation of women, supporting the Superior Court of Electoral Justice and its School of Political Participation of Women and also the Network of Women of the South, through Kuña Roga and the Spanish NGO AIETI.
This proposal presented to public opinion is based on the fact that the elections in Paraguay have gained significant technical strength, after having adopted the mechanism of electronic voting in a single electoral process. However, the levels of participation are low according to different Latin American surveys that place Paraguayan citizens among those who least trust electoral processes.
To address these important challenges, the initiative to promote national electoral observation, on the one hand, allows a dynamic participation in the electoral processes and, on the other hand, indirectly collaborates to increase confidence in them. During its development, it is also planned to produce analyzes and assessments of the electoral process at different times, and a national quick count of a representative nature in the 2023 presidential elections.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY
The International Day of Democracy was celebrated for the first time on September 15, 2008, in memory of the fact that on that same date, but in 1997, the United Nations Inter-Parliamentary Union adopted the Universal Declaration on Democracy, reaffirming with her the right of all states to choose and develop freely without interference from others. By commemorating this day, the aim is to discuss the opportunities for strengthening, union and equality within societies worldwide and above all to remember that these should be centered on people.
The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development – AECID – is a public law entity attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, through the Secretary of State for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America, which works in more than 30 countries. of the world. Its purpose is the promotion, management and execution of public policies of international cooperation for development, aimed at fighting poverty and achieving sustainable human development in developing countries.
The bases of the Spanish Cooperation association in Paraguay are governed by the Country Association Framework (MAP) 2020-2023 between the governments of Spain and the Republic of Paraguay, which aims to contribute to sustainable human development and the eradication of poverty in Paraguay, in line with different public policy commitments and planning instruments.