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Statement By Jimmy Carter On The 2002 Jamaican Electoral Process

ATLANTA….Jamaicans will no longer tolerate violence during an election period. The electoral authorities and political parties have demonstrated their interest in peaceful elections by establishing mechanisms to reduce conflict. A political ombudsman has been appointed, the Elections Centre established, and a political code of conduct signed by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Edward Seaga. These advances merit praise.

In this time of electoral competition, everyone must demonstrate respect for peaceful elections. I encourage local politicians to sign the code of conduct and demonstrate their personal dedication to its principles, and I urge all Jamaicans to uphold these principles in order to reduce inflammatory campaign rhetoric and election-related violence.

The Jamaican people have the main responsibility to ensure a peaceful and fair election. International observation missions, such as The Carter Center will be sending to Jamaica, can focus world interest and support local efforts. But it is the domestic observer group CAFFE, the political party poll watchers, and the citizens of Jamaica who are the best watchdogs for an election in which all voices are heard and all votes are counted. The Jamaican people are the ultimate arbiters and will determine the final outcome of these elections. We look forward to joining Jamaicans in a truly free election that is without intimidation or violence and is accepted by all.


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