More Links in News & Events

International Observers Urge Immediate Action to Allow a Democratic Election in Peru

Lima, Peru….. Election observers from The Carter Center and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) visited Lima this week and found that Peru's election process does not yet meet international standards for democratic elections. Former Costa Rica President Rodrigo Carazo led the delegation, which is the second in a planned series of three NDI/Carter Center delegations that will observe the campaign conditions and administrative preparations for the presidential and legislative elections on April 9, 2000.

While acknowledging some recent improvements in the statements and actions of Peruvian government officials and election authorities, the delegation found that in many respects the electoral conditions had worsened since the observers' initial visit in December 1999, and concluded that the political conditions for free and fair elections have not yet been established. In a statement issued today, the NDI/Carter Center observer team asserted that significant improvements in the electoral process are still possible, and recommended measures the Peruvian government should take to provide fair access to television and end media bias, prevent the misuse of state resources, increase transparency in electoral administration, end harassment of candidates and domestic election observers, and ensure that party pollwatchers and nonpartisan election observers have access to the polls.

"Peruvian citizens and officials have expressed a strong desire for democratic elections, but immediate steps must be taken to enact promised improvements and assure that citizens can exercise their right to make an informed decision at the polls," former President Carazo said.

Expressing concern that one-third of the campaign period has already lapsed, the international observers suggested extraordinary steps are warranted to establish confidence in the electoral process. To end harassment and vilification of opposition candidates, civil society organizations and the Ombudsman's Office, the delegation urged that the electoral violations "hotline" recently initiated by the government be widely publicized and a log of all complaints and responses be made available for public inspection. Pledges to appoint special prosecutors in each election district should be fulfilled promptly, and prosecutions of election abuses should be expedited.

The NDI/Carter Center observers also urged media organizations to make available broadcast time and print space at normal market rates and without discrimination among political parties, and suggested that in addition to allocating free time on state-owned television channels, the government purchase time and space in the private media and make it available to the parties and candidates on an equitable basis. Acknowledging that citizens sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between state actions and campaigning by incumbents, the observers invited the government to refrain from activities such as inauguration of public works.

The international observation team included Dr. Guillermo Marquez, former president of the Elections Tribunal in Panama; Dr. Gerardo Le Chevallier, NDI director for Latin America and the Caribbean; and Dr. Shelley McConnell, associate director of The Carter Center's Latin American and Caribbean Program. February 7-11, 2000 the group met with election authorities, government officials, opposition candidates, non-governmental organizations, the Ombudsman's Office, pollsters, expert scholars and members of the news media. Their report came in the wake of controversy over President Alberto Fujimori's decision to seek re-election after a decade in the presidency. The NDI/Carter Center delegation expressed serious concern over the array of political maneuvers aimed at pre-determining the outcome of the legal issues surrounding President Fujimori's candidacy, which Peruvian authorities have ruled to be valid.

Nonetheless, the delegation praised Peruvian election authorities' technical preparations for the balloting, including plans to post the results on the Internet. The observers cited an international expert's assessment that the local civic group Transparencia used sound methods to evaluate the voter registration list, but the delegation downplayed concerns about the list's accuracy. Instead, they highlighted the role of party pollwatchers in assuring clean elections, and urged that opposition parties coordinate deployment of their pollwatchers to achieve better coverage on election day.

NDI and The Carter Center are independent, non-governmental organizations that have conducted impartial election observation programs in the Americas and around the globe. At the invitation of Peruvian electoral authorities and in accordance with international standards and Peruvian law, in November 1999 NDI and The Carter Center established a joint mission to observe the pre-election period, and in January 2000 opened an office in Lima to monitor ongoing election issues.

To read the Statement Of The NDI/Carter Center February 2000 Pre-Election Delegation To Peru click here

Donate Now

Sign Up For Email

Please sign up below for important news about the work of The Carter Center and special event invitations.

Please leave this field empty
Now, we invite you to Get Involved
Back To Top