BELMOPAN, Belize, Friday March 9, 2012 – Belize has received high praise for the peaceful way its March 7 elections were conducted and for the strong presence of women during the political process.
This praise is coming from the Organisation of American States (OAS) which sent an observation mission to the country to observe its General and Municipal Elections. That mission saw 22 members of 13 countries visiting Belize to observe the elections.
“The ability of Belizean political parties to incorporate all of the nation’s diverse population should be commended as an exemplary practice for the region,” he said.
Belize was also praised for the dedication and professionalism of over 3,000 polling officials who presided over the two simultaneous elections and ensured a smooth process throughout the day.
However, even more pleasing to the observers was the presence of women in the process, functioning in various capacities including senators and as secretaries general to political parties.
Despite this, the mission expressed concern about the low number of female candidates in both electoral processes, which represented only four per cent or three out of 74.
Included in its list of recommendations was that greater efforts be made by both political parties and the government to encourage a greater participation by women in the election process.
It further recommended the development of legal mechanisms to ensure women were incorporated on the ballot and the promotion of training programmes for female political leaders.
However, a more detailed report on the observation and recommendations will be presented to the OAS Permanent Council in Washington D.C. in the coming weeks.