National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel)



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“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)

Filipinos from all walks of life have decided to take positive action to preserve democracy in the country by making elections work as the basic means for achieving peaceful change.

NAMFREL is the world’s pioneer in election monitoring. It is a non-partisan, nationwide organization of individual citizens and civic, religious, professional, business, labor, educational, youth and non-government organizations, voluntarily working for the cause of free, orderly and honest elections. Formally organized in October 1983, its roots can be traced as early as 1957 with the establishment of the Operations Registration Committee. The Citizens National Electoral Assembly (CNEA) formed in the 1960s and 1970s was also the precursor of NAMFREL. Today, NAMFREL continues the tradition of a citizens’ group working for political and electoral reforms.

Citizen vigilance in the 1986 elections has shown what Filipinos can do to restore democracy in the country. 500,000 volunteers offered their time and energy, even their lives, to preserve the sanctity of the ballot.

As a Filipino citizens group, NAMFREL’s commitment is to actively participate in strengthening democratic institutions and processes, particularly the electoral process. It highly encourages the involvement of citizens in this enormous task of guarding democracy.

NAMFREL believes that it is only by harnessing the power of an informed and concerned citizenry that free, orderly and clean elections, as well as honesty in government, can be achieved.

Organization and Operations

NAMFREL is an organization of the people, by the people and for the people.

At the national level, it is governed by a National Council, consisting of the heads of the major national organizations participating in NAMFREL.

At the local level, NAMFREL is organized into provincial chapters and city and municipal chapters throughout the country. Each chapter is responsible for manning all the polling places in all the voting centers within the city or municipality in the conduct of NAMFREL’s Operation Quick Count (OQC).

As a non-partisan volunteer organization, NAMFREL is funded neither by the government nor by any political party or partisan institution. It draws upon contributions made by many civic-minded citizens who support NAMFREL’s mission.

NAMFREL in the international electoral scene

Namfrel’s involvement in the international electoral scene include invitations by the United Nations and UNDP to monitor elections in Cambodia, as well as receiving several nominations to the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize from notable organizations such as the Carnegie Endowment For International Peace and the International Human Rights Law Group, both based in Washington, D.C.

Internationally, Namfrel volunteers have worked as trainers, observer team members, election administrators and resource persons in 27 countries namely: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Chile, China, Cote D’ivoire, Denmark, Haiti, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, U.S.A., and Zambia.

It has been said that in East Germany, people drew their inspiration from what they heard about Namfrel in mobilizing efforts that led to the eventual collapse of the Berlin wall.

Written by namfrel

September 24, 2009 at 4:37 am

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