“I was surprised that such a small community with so few human resources to organise an electoral act did things so well, so properly, in conformity with international standards. This was a demonstration of a desire that this should be an act of value, not only in terms of its effects in the Falklands themselves, but also for the international image of a legitimate process.”
This was the opinion of Uruguayan parliamentarian Jaime Mario Trobo, who with his colleague and fellow parliamentarian José Carlos Cardoso, was in the Falklands to witness the referendum on March 10 and 11.
Mr Trobo, who is President of the Commission for International Affairs of the Lower Chamber and Coordinator of the Secretary of International Relations of the senior opposition National Party was part of the team of international observers assembled for the Falkland Islands Government by Canadem and Mr Cardoso, who is President of the Uruguayan Parliament’s Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Committee and a former Minister of Education, was present as an independent observer.
Asked why he had come to the Falklands, Mr Trobo said that his first purpose was to witness a democratic process in action through the exercise of a free vote, but his secondary motivation was to gain a deeper understanding of a community which despite being very close to his own country, was not really sufficiently well known there.
Both parliamentarians had faced some opposition to their visit to the Islands, including from a government minister, Mr Trobo said, but this did not worry them because they were freely autonomous and wanted to learn more about the sovereignty claim in respect of which their party in Uruguay has taken a position. The important thing in their view was that a group of people were participating in a democratic exercise, regardless of their nationality or political persuasion.
As observers, Mr Trobo said that they had witnessed all aspects of the referendum. Their first concern had been the formal legal framework by means of which the citizens could express their views freely in a referendum. They were happy that the established forms and procedures were of an internationally acceptable standard and also that their practical application met the standards set.
They had observed how easy it was for citizens to exercise their right to vote, the behaviour of the referendum officials, the casting of votes, the security of the ballot boxes, and finally the counting of the votes.
Mr Trobo concluded, “We were able to observe that the process was perfectly in conformity with established international standards.
“We can say with absolute independence and regardless of the result, which this has been an exemplary civic act which we recognise as having been properly carried out”. (Penguin News).-