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Carter Center Delegates Arrive to Monitor Jamaica Elections

ATLANTA….Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Costa Rica President Miguel Angel Rodriguez will lead a 55-member international delegation, representing 16 countries, to observe Jamaica's national elections. The Carter Center and its Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, which observed Jamaica's elections in 1997, were invited by the Electoral Advisory Committee and welcomed by all major political parties to observe the Oct. 16 elections.

Presidents Carter and Rodriguez are members of the Center's Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, a group of 35 current and former heads of government who have monitored elections throughout the Western Hemisphere since 1987. The council, headquartered at the Center's Americas Program, seeks to reinforce democracy, resolve conflict, and advance cooperation in the Western Hemisphere. Jamaica Prime Minister P.J. Patterson and Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Edward Seaga, who served as prime minister 1980 - 1988, also are members.

"Jamaicans, with their strong tradition of democracy, will be the final judges of the election," said President Carter. "As international observers, we support the democratic process. Jamaicans have voiced a clear commitment to an open electoral process, and we are optimistic this will be another proud moment in Jamaica's history."

Presidents Carter and Rodriguez, along with Americas Program Director Dr. Jennifer McCoy and Field Office Director Laura Neuman, will meet with all the candidates, the Electoral Advisory Committee, the commissioner of the Jamaican Constabulary Forces, the political ombudsman, and the domestic observer group CAFFE.

Twelve medium observers were deployed Sept. 30 to observe campaigns and election preparations in 24 constituencies. The remainder of the delegation will arrive Oct. 12, then receive briefings in Kingston before deployment to additional constituencies. On election day, they will witness poll openings, voting, and vote counting at polling stations and transportation of the ballot boxes to the regional counting centers.

The Carter Center's mission was funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the Canadian International Development Agency, with additional support from the British High Commission and the South Africa High Commission in Jamaica.

Founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter, The Carter Center is a not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization committed to advancing peace and health worldwide.


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