The rule of law in the context of free and fair elections: Taking stock of recent developments in Central America

EXPERT ROUNDTABLE with KAS Partners from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama

The roundtable has put focus on the current situation in the region concerning elections, the discussion of the role of electoral courts in conflict management and the importance of civil society, political parties for a democratic political culture



Traditionally electoral courts in Central America take a key role in guaranteeing democracy: They not only ensure the organisation of elections but are also as last level of jurisdiction the responsible institution for electoral and party law. Electoral courts are in charge of developing the framework, in which political actors operate.

Even though citizens view the work of the electoral courts in the region positively there is a serious lack of trust towards the judicial and legislative branches of government, which are indispensable for the functioning of a democracy. The rising polarization both within the countries of Central America and on a regional level poses a serious challenge. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung provides support to the communication departments in Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama especially in the run up to elections. In this respect the establishment of communication strategies as well as professional relations with political and civil society actors are of key importance. The regional exchange between the electoral courts is aimed at building joint positions and efficient communication and to convey a set of democratic values to citizens through civic education measures. At the same time the electoral courts and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung promote the establishment of political educational institutes which take over civic education on a permanent basis in order to improve the quality of political participation significantly.


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Elisabeth Sandfuchs



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Europabüro Brüssel