On 3 and 4 December, the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judiciary Branch of Mexico (TEPJF, for its acronym in Spanish) hosted, in Mexico, the Second Plenary Session of the Global Network for Electoral Justice. This network gathers electoral and constitutional courts from around the world in an effort to address some of the key challenges facing electoral justice and democracy nowadays. International IDEA participates in the network as a member of its scientific committee and, for the second plenary assembly, as a joint organizer of the event.
Within this truly global network of democracies – comprised of 39 national authorities from 31 countries, 4 academic institutions and a number of international organizations – justices, magistrates, judges, election officials and experts gather to reflect on and find solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Democratic disaffection, political financing in elections, media and the use of new technologies and equal political participation are just a few of the issues discussed.
With this in mind, International IDEA participates through the network’s scientific committee, providing advise for strengthening the network, its reach and membership and for defining its activities and topics. In addition, during the Second Plenary, IDEA hosted the session “Successful and Legitimate Elections: a global comparative perspective”. In this session, participants highlighted that while electoral integrity is not the only condition for the legitimacy of a democracy, it is indeed necessary for its health. Therefore solutions were provided for making elections not only free and fair, but also perceived as such.
The members of this panel included: Hugo Concha – Legal Research Institute of Mexico’s National University; Thomas Hicks – Chairman of the Election Assistance Commission of the United States; Johann Kriegler – Ret. Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; Jesus Orozco – Legal Research Institute of Mexico’s National University; Ellen Weintraub – Federal Election Commission of the United States and our very own Miguel Angel Lara Otaola – Head of Programme for Mexico and Central America for International IDEA.
Furthermore, Daniel Zovatto, Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for International IDEA, provided a key note address on the challenges facing democracy in Latin America and worldwide. “We can’t solve XXIst century challenges with XXth century formulas”, he stated, while urging members to defend democratic gains and the independence of judicial and electoral institutions in these times of declining freedom and rising authoritarianism.
International IDEA will continue actively supporting the Global Network on Electoral Justice because we recognize its worth as a community of democracies that supports freedom and human rights worldwide and as IDEA believes that independent electoral institutions, a strong judiciary, a free and vigorous press and an unyielding respect for the law are key drivers not only for democracy, but for development in general.
The program is available here.