Honduras has experienced jeopardized electoral processes over the course of its history, along with a polarized political and a low trust in democratic institutions. President Juan Orlando Hernandez has been in power since 2014, and his controversial re-election in 2017 deepened the political and social crisis in the country. This institutional crisis was followed by two more in 2020: the health, social and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating effects of two hurricanes that hit the country in November.
In March 2021, the country held primary elections despite the challenging political, social, and economic context. The results were widely accepted, although some of the candidates have challenged the results. Just before the official call for the elections of November, a new Electoral Law was approved. This law brings more certainty to the electoral process but it does not seem to address all the concerns from citizens and political parties. Electoral institutions remain weak, controlled by the main parties and internally divided.
With the Election Observation Mission, the EU wanted to assure the security, transparency and veracity of the General Elections in Honduras in November 2021.
An Election Exploratory Mission was deployed during July 2021 to assess wether the deployment in Honduras of the European Union Election Observation Mission was useful, feasible, and advisable. The main purpose of the Election Exploratory Mission was to collect information concerning the election process, including the political situation, election administration, potential for electoral violence, general security of the country, and logistics.
Once the EU Election Observation Mission was declared viable, the logistical, administrative, and security aspects of the EU Election Observation Mission are implemented to achieve the project objectives. To ensure that elections are free and fair elections, and that all citizens are able to vote freely, DT Global deployed team of experts in Honduras. The Election Observation Mission covered most of the territory of the country, except for certain areas that were avoided due to security concerns (Islas de la Bahía and areas outside the capital of the department of Gracias a Dios).
The Mission took into account the risks that could arise during the implementation and guaranteed the security and safety of its experts. The safety and security of the election observers was ensured following the guidelines developed by the European Comission. Moreover, due to the pandemic situation, Covid-19 standard operating procedures were created in adherence to Colombia’s rules and restrictions.
OUR GOALS AND RESULTS
The EU Elections Observation Mission goals include:
- Strengthen democratization, good governance and conflict prevention through independent monitoring and oversight of the General elections.
- Reduce of the possibility of fraud, manipulation and intimidation attemps that could undermine the electoral process also affecting the public confidence in the institutions.
- Ensure fair and unimpeachable elections.
- Protect and uphold free and fair elections and the virtues of democracy.
- Contribute, over the long term, to the improvement of the legal framework and conduct of future elections, as well as the public confidence in institutions.
- The results of the elections have been largely recognized in Honduras and abroad, acknowledging the process as a fair and clean one.