The special Unasur group for the monitoring and assessment of the political situation in Paraguay will recommend country members naming a mission that evaluates ‘in situ’ the electoral process in the landlocked country.
“The Union of South American Nations, (Unasur) needs that Paraguay respects the minimum international standards of a transparent electoral system”, said Salomon Lerner, head of the special group, adding “hopefully our assessment can then confirm that this is effectively what is happening in Paraguay”.
Lerner said Unasur wishes Paraguay ‘continues as a member country of this political unit that it returns to democracy and all is confirmed by a transparent electoral process”.
Paraguay is currently suspended from Unasur and Mercosur following the removal from office of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by current president Federico Franco. The impeachment process which removed then President Lugo was considered a ‘democratic rupture’ by the two regional organizations.
The former Peruvian cabinet chief said that at a meeting in Lima with ambassadors from Unasur member countries, they were briefed on the latest events and recent visits to Brasilia and Caracas by the special monitoring group, plus the elaboration of a working document on the steps to follow in coming months.
Technically Paraguay has been suspended until April 2013, when new presidential elections are scheduled. If Unasur and Mercosur consider the electoral process has been up to international standards, Paraguay resumes full membership of both groups.
“We have also discussed the possibility of a follow-up mission which would have to travel to Asuncion to make an in-situ monitoring and report on the electoral activities in Paraguay”, added Lerner.
“The proposal of an in-situ mission, could become a basic working paper when Unasur Foreign ministers meet on 29 November in Lima”, said Lerner. The following day, 30 November, during the Unasur presidential summit, heads of state will decide on the steps to follow with all the background collected by the special group.
“We are very optimistic that the Paraguayan process that has begun will take Paraguay back to a democratic system and Unasur countries will always maintain the needed political unity”.
Regarding criticisms from Paraguay referred to the role which Unasur is playing monitoring the electoral process, Lerner said they don’t know much about the mission’s task and whom make it up, “it’s a prejudice reaction”.
Lerner briefed all Unasur member countries ambassadors in Peru, based on the instructions from the Unasur leaders when they met last June in Mendoza, Argentina.