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Carter and Betancur to Lead NDI/Council Delegation to Observe Elections in the Dominican Republic

ATLANTA, GA.... An international observer delegation sponsored 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 Thursday, June 27, to observe the June 30 second round presidential election. The delegation will include election experts, and political, business and civic leaders from 12 countries in the Americas and Asia.

The leaders of the group include former Presidents Jimmy Carter of the United States, Belisario Betancur of Colombia and Ramiro de Leon Carpio of Guatemala, former Prime Minister Joe Clark of Canada, former Governor of New Hampshire and White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, and former U.S. Representative Claudine Schneider. Presidents Carter and Betancur will be spokesmen for the delegation.

The delegation was invited by the Junta Central Electoral and by the Presidential candidates. Its principal purpose is to assess the electoral process. "The June 30 election is a pivotal one for the Dominican Republic," said President Jimmy Carter. "Our delegation is international and multi-partisan. We will be completely impartial and will not interfere in the internal affairs of this country. We want only that the people of the Dominican Republic are free to choose their next President, and that the result reflects their preferences. In a free election, we hope the candidates of both parties will accept the process and the results and together celebrate democracy."

While in the Dominican Republic, the delegation will meet with President Joaquin Balaguer, the candidates, leaders of civic organizations, journalists, and others involved in the electoral process at the national and local levels. Briefings will be held for the delegation on Friday, June 28, in Santo Domingo before teams of two to three delegates are deployed to different regions of the country to observe inscription, voting, ballot counting, and tabulation of results. After the election, the delegation will reassemble in Santo Domingo on Monday, July 1, for a comprehensive debriefing. A press conference to offer the delegation's preliminary post-election statement is planned for 6 p.m. that day 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 mission for the 1994 elections. An April 1996 pre-election evaluation mission, co-led by Presidents Carter and Betancur, found a promising atmosphere for the May 16 elections, but also voiced several concerns regarding the May 16 elections. Despite those concerns, the NDI/Council delegation was encouraged by the May 16 election. Of 223 polling places visited, only four were found not to have performed satisfactorily.

In the period since the May 16 election, the contest between the tresponse to complaints heard from both the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD), President Carter sent a letter to President Joaquin Balaguer expressing his concerns about reports of arrests of people without voter identification cards (cedulas). President Carter also was concerned about reports of the buying of cedulas.

Some people have suggested that President Carter's letter was intended to favor one party. "Nothing could be further from the truth," said Dr. Robert Pastor of The Carter Center. "President Carter sent the letter because of complaints that we had heard from both parties, and also because of evidence of police arrests." Santiago Canton of NDI said: "President Carter sent copies of the letter to both presidential candidates. We were pleased by the rapid and effective response of President Balaguer."


  • 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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