Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Election Monitoring Missions
60. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to a report by researchers (details supplied) which states that statistical evidence does not support the claim of fraud in the October 2019 election in Bolivia; his views on whether the Organisation of American States should retract its statements regarding the election which have contributed to the political conflict; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3888/20]
As the Deputy will be aware, the elections that took place in Bolivia on 20 October 2019 were followed by violence and reports of excessive force by the authorities. On 10 November 2019, the Organisation of American States (OAS) released a preliminary report indicating that it had found clear irregularities, and that it could not verify the result of the October elections.
A further report from the OAS published on 4 December 2019 concluded that there was intentional manipulation and serious irregularities, which had made it impossible to validate the results originally issued by the Bolivian electoral authorities.
I am aware of the report by researchers at the Election Data and Science Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released in the last few days, the findings of which are strongly challenged by the OAS.
Ireland supports EU statements issued in November 2019 which called for a new Electoral Court to be appointed that could offer guarantees of transparent elections, and a return to constitutional normality so that the rule of law, democratic principles and civil right rights are respected, as well as calling for an institutional solution that allowed for a caretaking interim leadership to prepare for new elections.
The Deputy will be aware that new legislative and Presidential elections are now scheduled to take place in Bolivia on 3 May 2020. An exploratory EU mission was deployed to Bolivia from 6-22 January 2020 to assess the usefulness of deploying a full EU election observation mission (EOM) to Bolivia for the May elections.
On 20 February 2020, the EU confirmed that, following an invitation by the Bolivian authorities, it would deploy an EOM to the country to observe the first round of Presidential and legislative elections on 3 May next. The EOM will also observe a possible second round of Presidential elections on 14 June. Ireland is fully supportive of this approach.
My Department will continue to work with our EU counterparts to support Bolivia in its path towards peaceful, inclusive and credible elections. We will continue to monitor developments through our Embassy in Buenos Aires, which is accredited to Bolivia.