Ernesto Samper, secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and former president of Colombia, met with Justice Dias Toffoli, president of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), on Monday (14). According to the secretary general, the purpose of his visit was to speak about the participation of Brazilian Electoral Courts in UNASUR committees formed to monitor the organization of elections in South American countries, notably the elections for the Legislative Branch of Venezuela, which are scheduled to be held on December 6.
“It is common knowledge that UNASUR has a board that gathers all electoral agencies, which are independent of government administrations. We have elections pending in Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela. I took this opportunity to speak with the president of the TSE about the organization of different committees, and we hope that Brazil joins us in the mission of monitoring elections, and ensuring their safety and transparency, especially with regard to the organization of elections in Venezuela, which seems to be preoccupying a few segments of public opinion”, said secretary general.
Ernesto Samper has also highlighted the relevance of being granted the opportunity to monitor elections held in South American countries from a close distance, as it would constitute a form to ensure the compliance with principles of democratic regimes. “It is opportune to emphasize that coup d’états cannot be considered the only triggers for the undermining of democracies, as military regimes no longer prevail in South America, but same democracies may also be threatened if elections are organized under untrustworthy circumstances”, he noted.
According to Justice Dias Toffoli, it is important to keep dialogue channels open with supranational authorities because “South America is presently experiencing a moment of intense democracy. Over the past 20-30 years, after dictatorships and numerous authoritarian regimes, the continent indicates to be complying with vigorous democratic principles. It is of paramount importance to have electoral agencies talking to each other, exchanging experiences and taking part in programs like this one in order to ensure that elections are organized in a lawful manner, providing a level playing field for both the government and opposition. That was precisely what we discussed, the correlation between democratic principles in South America and the role to be played by UNASUR´s board of electoral agencies”, he reported.
Finally, the president of the TSE pointed to the participation of Brazil in electoral committees formed within the Union of South American Nations. “We have been joining UNASUR in numerous missions, including the one organized to monitor presidential elections in Venezuela two years ago, as well as missions to Colombia, Paraguay and other countries”, he concluded.