The European Union Electoral Follow-Up Mission encourages Honduran institutions to continue the electoral reform process in an atmosphere of dialogue and tolerance
On 30 October 2023, the European Union deployed an Electoral Follow-Up Mission (EFM) to Honduras, headed by the Chief Observer Željana Zovko, Member of the European Parliament and Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Honduras 2021.
The objective of the Mission was to learn about the ongoing efforts to strengthen the legal framework and electoral practices in line with the recommendations of the 2021 EU EOM. During its stay in the country, the Mission met with numerous electoral stakeholders, including members of the Government, members of the National Congress, the National Electoral Council (CNE), the Electoral Justice Tribunal (TJE), the National Civil Registry (RNP), the Financing, Transparency and Oversight Unit (UFTF), representatives of political parties, civil society and international cooperation.
The Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Željana Zovko encouraged stakeholders to develop and implement the recommendations suggested by the EU EOM 2021, which implies “resuming the dialogue between all stakeholders in a democratic climate, in light of the 2024 primary elections and the 2025 general elections”.
The Mission was able to verify that, to date, only two of the twenty-three recommendations suggested by the EU EOM 2021 have been partially implemented. These two recommendations refer to a more transparent CNE public communication strategy and to the distribution of national ID cards by the National Civil Registry in remote communities associated with ethnic minority groups. In seven other areas, steps towards improvements are being taken, such as the approval of an Electoral Procedural Law, which has already passed a legal review in the National Congress; the timely disbursement of the necessary funds to hold elections, in particular, the 2024 party primaries; the adequate training of electoral staff, including officials of the National Electoral Council and the Financing, Transparency and Oversight Unit; and the change of name of transgender persons. In contrast, there has been no change regarding nine other recommendations.
MEP Zovko said: “We believe that the recommendations left by the 2021 Election Observation Mission would advance democracy in the country. We are in Honduras at the invitation of the electoral authorities, and we trust that the institutions will take more decisive steps to achieve these improvements in a timely manner. All stakeholders must now make an effort that would reinforce the institutions and benefit all citizens.
The Election Follow-Up Mission will remain in the country until 25 November. A final report will be made public in the coming weeks. This report will serve as a reference to enhance the electoral legal framework of the Republic of Honduras. The European Union stands by the citizens and all stakeholders to ensure credible, inclusive and transparent elections in 2025.