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NDI/Council International Election Observation Delegation Arrives in the Dominican Republic

ATLANTA, GA.... An international election observer delegation organized by the Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government, based at The Carter Center, and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) will arrive in Santo Domingo on Sunday, May 12, to begin preparations for observing the May 16 presidential election. The delegation will include election experts, political and civic leaders, and democratic development experts from 11 countries throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Former Colombian President Belisario Betancur and former Guatemalan President Ramiro de Leon Carpio will lead the delegation.

The delegation's principal purpose is to demonstrate the international community's interest and support for the strengthening of the democratic processes in the Dominican Republic and to provide the international community with an objective assessment of the Dominican electoral process. In witnessing these elections, NDI/Council recognizes that Dominican citizens will ultimately determine the legitimacy of the 1996 presidential election as well as whether the results express the will of the electorate.

While in the Dominican Republic, the delegation will meet with electoral officials, political party candidates, leaders of civic organizations, journalists and others involved with the election process at the national and local level. The delegation will receive detailed briefings in Santo Domingo before deploying throughout the country to observe voting, ballot counting, and tabulation of results. The observer delegation will conduct its activities in accordance with the laws of the Dominican Republic and international standards and practices concerning electoral processes and electoral rights. After the election, the delegation will reassemble in Santo Domingo for a comprehensive debriefing and plans to issue a preliminary post-election statement at a press conference on May 18 at 11 a.m. at the Sheraton Hotel.

During the past decade, NDI and the Council have monitored more than 50 elections around the world. In the Dominican Republic, NDI and The Carter Center co-sponsored an international election observation delegation for the 1990 election. NDI also organized an election observation delegation for the 1994 elections. An April pre-election assessment mission to the 1996 election, headed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Colombian President Belisario Betancur, found a promising atmosphere for the May 16 election but was presented with several concerns, including: the implementation of the new "colegio cerrado" voting procedure; lack of direct access to the Election Commission's computer center; a limitation placed on the number of national observers; and questions raised about the eligibility of some individuals on the voter list.


  • H.E. Belisario Betancur, former President of Colombia
  • Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States
  • Joe Clark, former Prime Minister of Canada
  • H.E. Ramiro de Leon Carpio, former President of Guatemala
  • Claudine Schneider, former U.S. Representative (Rep.-Rhode Island)
  • John Sununu, former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff


  • Santiago Canton, Director of Latin American and Caribbean, NDI (United States)
  • Dr. Robert Pastor, Executive Secretary, Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government, and Director, Latin American and Caribbean Program, Carter Center (U.S.)
  • Kenneth Wollack, President, NDI (United States)


  • Lourdes Alvarado Espino, Professor, University of Panama (Panama)
  • Charles N. Andreae, III, President, Andreae and Associates (United States)
  • Carlos Bascuñan, Executive Director, Corporation of Justice and Democracy (Chile),representative of Patricio Aylwin, former President of Chile, Council member
  • Zabdiel Blackman, Treasurer of Sydney B. Browne & Son (U.S.)
  • José O. Bordon, Former Senator (Argentina)
  • Eddie Charles Brown, Senior Consultant, NDI (United States)
  • Pamela Carter, Attorney General for State of Indiana (U.S.)
  • Becky Castle, Program Coordinator, LACP, The Carter Center (United States)
  • Fidel Chavez Mena, Former President of Christian Democratic Party (El Salvador)
  • Bruce Clark, County Clerk, Kankakee County, Illinois (U.S.)
  • Col. Jay A. Cope (Ret.), Senior Fellow, Institute for National Strategic Studies (United States)
  • Marc Craighead, Hewlett Graduate Fellow, Emory University and The Carter Center (United States)
  • Michael G. DeGroote, President of Westbury, Ltd. (Bermuda)
  • Julio Faesler, President, Council for Democracy (Mexico)
  • Jonathan Hartlyn, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina (United States)
  • Cara Hesse, Program Officer for Guyana, NDI (United States)
  • Julio Isaac Rovi Fong, Professor, University of Panama (Panama)
  • Kate Kelsch, Program Officer for Latin America, NDI (United States)
  • Guillermo Linares, Council member, City of New York (United States)
  • Maureen McTeer, Faculty of Law, University of Calgary (Canada)
  • Patrick Merloe, Senior Associate for Electoral Processes, NDI (United States)
  • Christopher Mitchell, Director, Latin American Studies, NYU (United States)
  • Darren Nance, Field Representative for Dominican Republic, NDI (United States)
  • Kathryn O'Kane, Regional Assistant for Latin America, NDI (United States)
  • Kathie O'Neill, Logistics Coordinator, NDI (United States)
  • Margaret Pastor, former Project Director, National Faculty, Atlanta (United States)
  • Seng Ronn, Chairman, Electoral Commission, FUNCIPEC Party (Cambodia)
  • Marvin Saballos Ramirez, Executive Director, Ethics and Transparency '96 (Nicaragua)
  • Michael Shifter, Program Director, Inter-American Dialogue (United States)
  • Nate Tibbits, Logistics Manager, NDI (United States)
  • Yasuo Yoshioka, Advisor to The Carter Center, ITOCHU Corporation (Japan)
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