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Invitation to serve as CommonBorders election observer in El Salvador PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Friday, 09 January 2004 06:20
CommonBorder: Attached below please find an invitiation to serve as an election observer with CommonBorder in the presidential elections for El Salvador. Please feel free to circulate this information to other interested organizations and individuals.

Attached below please find an invitiation to serve as an election observer with CommonBorder in the presidential elections for El Salvador. Please feel free to circulate this information to other interested organizations and individuals.

Thanks,

Steven Baileys

CommonBorders

*******************************************************************************************************************

Invitation to serve as CommonBorders election observer in El Salvador

elections of March 21, 2004

December 17, 2004

Dear Friends:

On March 21, 2004, the people of El Salvador will go to the polls to elect their nation?s President and Vice President. The Centre for Exchange and Solidarity (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad, or CIS), an experienced Salvadoran non-governmental organisation that promotes the development of civil society and democracy in that country, has invited CommonBorders to send a delegation of electoral observers for this important election.

What is Common Borders?

CommonBorders is a community-based group of Victorians that supports the development of civil society and social justice movements in the Americas. CommonBorders provides Victorians with the unique opportunity to experience and learn about democratic processes and social justice movements in other countries while serving as electoral observers. CommonBorders has organized previous electoral delegations to the state elections in Nayarit, Mexico (July of 1999), Guatemala's national elections in November 1999, the Mexican federal elections in July 2000 and the federal elections in Peru in 2001. CommonBorders also observed El Salvador?s municipal and legislative elections in March of 2003. For more detailed information about CommonBorders please refer to our website at:

<http://www.commonborders.org/>www.commonborders.org

El Salvador Election Background

The elections scheduled for 21 March 2004 will determine El Salvador?s President and Vice President for the next five years. These elections take place within a new and developing political context in El Salvador. The March 2003 elections changed the political landscape as, for the first time in history, the left wing Faribundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) party moved from being the main opposition party to securing a marginal majority of seats in the legislative assembly. The right wing Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) party, which had ruled El Salvador since 1989, became the second largest party. Although the FMLN possesses a small majority of members in the legislative assembly, movement towards adopting more moderate social and economic policies has been slowed by coalition voting amongst the right wing conservative parties in the assembly.

Prior to the 2003 elections, numerous obstacles to citizen participation in the elections were identified. In particular, electoral reforms agreed to following the signing of El Salvador?s Peace Accords had not been implemented. Many of these concerns remain valid for the 2004 presidential elections. In addition, international observers to the previous elections noted many instances of undue voter influence and even intimidation and violence in the period leading up to election day. Numerous irregularities were noted o­n election day itself, and concerns regarding the transparency and accuracy of the process remain serious (for more detailed information, please see the CIS Final Report o­n the Municipal and Legislative Elections o­n the CIS website at ww.cis-elsalvador.org and CommonBorders? Final Report at www.commonborders.org).

As a result of these o­ngoing conditions of uncertainty, civil society and grassroots non-governmental organizations in El Salvador are calling for an international presence in support of free, fair and transparent elections.

You are invited to apply to be a member of the delegation to El Salvador

CommonBorders is looking for people interested in being a member of the upcoming delegation to El Salvador. The size and composition of the delegation is still to be determined. In general, we are looking for people who represent a broad range of backgrounds and variety of life experiences. You do not need to be a seasoned electoral observer to participate!

If you want to know more about the type of individuals we are looking for please read the attached "Questions and Answers" document.

In addition, CommonBorders has arranged an information session. Please join us to hear more about the delegation to El Salvador and meet CommonBorders board members and delegation coordinators.

 

Date: Wednesday, January 7th

Time: 7:00 ? 9:00 pm

Location: Michele Pujol Room, Student Union Building, University of Victoria (3800 Finnerty Road, Victoria).

Due to the nature of the elections, we have set out a number of key requirements for potential delegates:

* Preference will be given to those who speak Spanish at a moderate level and/or have traveled to Latin American and/ or have previous experience as an electoral observer

* Delegates must be available to travel to El Salvador from March 13 to March 24, 2004 (exceptions to the above may be made depending o­n individual circumstances)

* Estimated cost of being a delegate is approximately $2,500 Can. This figure includes airfare (to be booked and paid for by individual delegates, although CommonBorders will try to negotiate a group rate), which will be about $1,200.00. The remainder covers accommodation, food, o­n-the-ground transportation, administration fees, and miscellaneous expenses. CommonBorders will arrange all logistics and accommodation. Costs may be higher if additional travel within El Salvador is required. Delegates are expected to assist with group fundraising activities which in turn will help to defray overall individual costs. A sliding scale may be considered under certain circumstances. CommonBorders can provide extra support to individual fundraising efforts for candidates in financial need

* Delegates will be required to attend two pre-departure training sessions and participate in self-directed seminars as part of our preparation as electoral observers.

If you would like to be a member of this delegation please complete the attached application form and return it care of Linda Shout via:

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Fax: (250) 388-0936 (this is a phone/fax, so please call before faxing)

Mail: 1117A May Street, Victoria BC V8V 2S6

Please do not hesitate to contact Linda by e-mail or phone at (250) 370-9879 if you have any further questions about the delegation.

* Applications must be completed and returned no later than Wednesday January 14th

* Interviews of applicants, if required, will be held o­n Saturday, January 17th or Sunday January 18th at a time and location to be confirmed

* A non-refundable $250 deposit cheque will be required of selected delegates by January 31st.

CommonBorders is excited and looking forward to this opportunity to travel, learn and witness this unique period in El Salvador?s history and to work alongside Salvadorans as they strengthen their civil and democratic society.

Much work will need to be done in the coming weeks, but we are confident that with the involvement and support of individuals such as you we can organize, train and send an effective delegation of observers to these important elections.

Sincerely,

Therese Boullard

Linda Shout

El Salvador Delegation Coordinators

Last Updated on Friday, 09 January 2004 06:20
 

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