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Former Leaders of The Americas Call for OAS General Assembly to Denounce Peru's Election

ATLANTA, GA.... Three former leaders of the Americas are calling on the Organization of American States to declare that Peru's elections did not meet democratic standards and to send a team to Peru to seek ways for the country to restore a democratic electoral process.

The request, led by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, was submitted in an open letter to foreign ministers who will attend the OAS meeting in Windsor, Ontario, June 4-6. Other signatories included: former Barbados Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford and former Costa Rica President Rodrigo Carazo, who led an electoral assessment mission by The Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to Peru in March.

"We respectfully suggest that you consider taking prompt action to accept Dr. Stein's report on the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to Peru; resolve that these elections did not meet democratic standards; and send a mission to Peru with a mandate to explore a consensual solution toward restoring electoral=20 institutions and procedures that meet international standards," the letter says.

On May 25, The Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute (NDI)cancelled plans to observe Peru's May 28 national election, concluding that the election could not meet international standards for a credible, democratic election. Other monitoring organizations concurred and also withdrew their observation missions, including the OAS mission, led by Eduardo Stein, and domestic monitors, such as Defensoria del Pueblo and Transparencia. The Carter Center and NDI, which together have monitored more than 50 elections worldwide, observed the entire electoral process in Peru from January-May 2000.

"This was not a democratic election. Indeed, Peru's electoral events constitute a rupture in its democratic development, which should be seen as an 'irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process' as noted in (OAS) Resolution 1080," the letter says. "The government that is to emerge from the Peruvian electoral process therefore will lack a credible mandate reflecting the will of the people of Peru. The citizens of Peru deserve a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to democratic elections, and that opportunity has been denied to them," the letter says.

EDITORS NOTE: For previous reports on the Carter Center/NDI observation of the Peru elections, see the "What's News" section at www.cartercenter.org, visit www.ndi.org on the World Wide Web or call Ken Wollack at the National Democratic Institute at 202-797-4706.

COPIES OF THE LETTER IN ENGLISH AND SPANISH FOLLOW:
June 2, 2000
OPEN LETTER TO THE HEMISPHERE'S FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING AT THE 30TH REGULAR SESSION OF THE OAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, JUNE 4-6, 2000, CONCERNING THE IRREGULAR INTERRUPTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL INSTITUTIONAL PROCESS IN PERU

Honorable Foreign Ministers:
We write to you out of concern about the recent electoral process in Peru and our mutual desire to support and uphold democratic principles in the Americas.

Article 3 of the Charter of the Organization of American States recognizes that: "The solidarity of the American States and the high aims which are sought through it require the political organization of those States on the basis of the effective exercise of representative democracy." This principle was reconfirmed in the "Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System" in 1991, in General Assembly Resolution 1080 and in the "Protocol of Washington." The Permanent Council of the OAS met in special session, on Wednesday, May 31, 2000, and referred the report by the Organization's Electoral Observation Mission in Peru for consideration at your meeting in Windsor, Canada, from June 4 to 6, 2000.

The international community, in general, and the OAS, in particular, expended significant resources and made important commitments to help ensure the integrity of the Peruvian electoral process this year. In addition to the OAS Election Observer Mission, guided skillfully by Dr. Eduardo Stein, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) and The Carter Center jointly organized a series of multinational delegations led by former presidents from the hemisphere to assess the electoral conditions, beginning in November 1999. The international community also supported the brave efforts of Peruvians to monitor their electoral process through the government's ombudsman's office, the Defensoria del Pueblo, the Peruvian civic organization Transparencia, and others.

A consensus has emerged among all of these impartial election monitoring groups that the Peruvian electoral process did not provide the people of Peru with a genuine democratic election, in part because of well-documented and gross media bias in favor of the incumbent president, lack of substantial media access for opposition candidates, and smear campaigns in the tabloid press against opposition candidates and Peruvian election observers. Observers also documented patterns of government resources being used for the electoral advantage of the incumbent president. The NDI/Carter Center mission concluded that the campaign was irreparably damaged and Peruvian voters had not received sufficient, accurate information about the candidates required in order to make an informed and free choice at the ballot box.

Additional concerns about the political climate and technical conditions for the runoff were not adequately addressed, so that, on May 25, NDI and The Carter Center concluded with regret that "an election on May 28 will not meet international standards for a credible, democratic election." We therefore did not send an observation team to witness the May 28 electoral exercise in Peru, concurring with decisions by the OAS Election Observation Mission, the Defensoria del Pueblo, Transparencia and others not to act in a manner that might validate an illegitimate electoral process.

This was not a democratic election. Indeed, Peru's electoral events constitute a rupture in its democratic development, which should be seen as an "irregular interruption of the democratic political institutional process" as noted in Resolution 1080. The government that is to emerge from the Peruvian electoral process therefore will lack a credible mandate reflecting the will of the people of Peru. The citizens of Peru deserve a genuine opportunity to exercise their right to democratic elections, and that opportunity has been denied to them.

As you gather in Windsor you have an important opportunity to take decisive action to preserve democracy in Peru. We respectfully suggest that you consider taking prompt action to: a) accept Dr. Stein's report on the OAS Electoral Observation Mission to Peru; b) resolve that these elections did not meet democratic standards; c) send a mission to Peru with a mandate to explore a consensual solution toward restoring electoral institutions and procedures that meet international standards.

Jimmy Carter, Former U.S. President
Rodrigo Carazo Odio, Former Costa Rica President
L. Erskine Sandiford, Former Prime Minister of Barbados

2 de Junio de 2000 [Translated from English]
CARTA ABIERTA A LOS MINISTROS DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES DEL HEMISFERIO, QUE SE REUNIRAN EN LA TRIGESIMA SESION REGULAR DE LA ASAMBLEA GENERAL DE LA OEA DEL 4 AL 6 DE JUNIO DE 2000, CON RESPECTO A LA INTERRUPCION DEL PROCESO INSTITUCIONAL DEMOCRATICO EN EL PERU.

Honorables Señores Ministros de Relaciones Exteriores:
Les escribimos porque estamos preocupados por los acontecimientos en el reciente proceso electoral en el Perú y porque compartimos su deseo de apoyar y mantener los principios democráticos en las Americas.

El artículo 3 de la Constitución de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) reconoce que: "La solidaridad de los Estados Americanos y sus altas metas requieren que la organización política de tales Estados se base en el ejercicio correcto de la democracia representativa..." Este principio fue reconfirmado en el "Compromiso de Santiago para la Democracia y la renovación del Sistema Interamericano" en 1991, en la Resolución1080 de la Asamblea General y en el "Protocolo de Washington." El Consejo Permanente de la OEA se reunió en una sesión especial el miércoles 31 de Mayo de 2000 y les envió para su consideración el reporte de la Misión de Observadores Electorales de la OEA, el cual les será entregado en su reunión en Windsor, Canadá, a realizarse entre el 4 y el 6 de Junio de 2000.

La comunidad internacional en general, y la OEA en particular, utilizaron importantes recursos e hicieron un compromiso para ayudar a asegurar la integridad en este proceso electoral en el Perú. Además de la Misión de Observadores Electorales de la OEA (MOE/OEA), dirigida muy acertadamente por el Dr. Eduardo Stein, desde Noviembre de 1999 el Instituto Nacional Demócrata para Asuntos Internacionales (NDI) y el Centro Carter organizaron conjuntamente una serie de Misiones multinacionales lideradas en algunos casos por Ex presidentes de diferentes países del Hemisferio para evaluar las condiciones electorales. La comunidad internacional también apoyó los valientes esfuerzos de los peruanos para monitorear su proceso electoral, a través de la Asociación Civil Transparencia, de la Defensoría del Pueblo y otras.

El consenso al que han llegado todos estos grupos imparciales de monitoreo, es que el proceso electoral no les dio a los peruanos una elección genuinamente democrática, ya sea por un muy bien documentado favoritismo de algunos medios de comunicación social a favor del actual Presidente, por la falta misma de acceso de los candidatos de oposición a los medios de comunicación y por la campaña de desprestigio en contra de los candidatos de oposición y los observadores electorales nacionales e internacionales. Los observadores también documentaron que algunos recursos del Gobierno fueron utilizados por el actual Presidente del Perú en su campaña. La Misión Conjunta del NDI y del Centro Carter concluyó que el proceso electoral fue irreparablemente afectado y que los electores peruanos no recibieron suficiente ni precisa información acerca de los candidatos, la cual es requerida para tomar una decisión educada y libre al votar.

Otros asuntos de preocupación acerca del clima político y con respecto a las condiciones técnicas para que se diera la segunda vuelta electoral no fueron debidamente atendidos, de tal manera que el 25 de Mayo pasado el NDI y el Centro Carter declararon que "de realizarse una elección el 28 de Mayo, esta no alcanzaría los estándares internacionales para garantizar unas elecciones con credibilidad en una atmósfera realmente democrática… " Por esta razón, estas mismas instituciones no enviaron un equipo para observar las elecciones del 28 de Mayo en el Perú, concordando con la decisión de la Misión de Observadores Electorales de la OEA (MOE/OEA), con la Defensoría del Pueblo, Transparencia y otras organizaciones, para no actuar de una manera que podría validar un proceso electoral a todas luces ilegítimo.

Esta no fue una elección democrática. De hecho, los eventos electorales en el Perú constituyen una alteración en su desarrollo democrático, lo cual debe ser visto como una "interrupción irregular del proceso político institucional democrático" tal como contempla la Resolución 1080. El gobierno que emergerá del reciente proceso electoral peruano, no tendrá un mandato con credibilidad que refleje la voluntad de las personas en Perú. Los ciudadanos del Perú merecen una genuina oportunidad de ejercer su derecho a tener unas elecciones democráticas, la cual evidentemente esta vez les ha sido negada.

Al reunirse ustedes en Windsor, tienen la importante oportunidad de tomar una acción decisiva para preservar la democracia en el Perú. Respetuosamente, les sugerimos que consideren tomar una pronta acción para : a) aceptar el reporte del Dr. Eduardo Stein sobre el monitoreo electoral de la Misión de Observación Electoral de la OEA en el Perú; b) En base a dicho reporte, concluir que estas elecciones no alcanzaron estándares internacionales y democráticos; c) traer una Misión al Perú con el propósito de explorar una solución consensual hacia la restauración de las instituciones y procedimientos electorales que alcancen los estándardes internacionales.

Jimmy Carter, Former U.S. President
Rodrigo Carazo Odio, Former Costa Rica President
L. Erskine Sandiford, Former Prime Minister of Barbados 

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