17 April 2000
The Socialist International is deeply concerned about the integrity of the national elections to be held in Peru on 9 April. Observer delegations from Europe, Latin America and the United States have been virtually unanimous in calling into question various aspects of the electoral process.
There have been numerous denunciations that during the campaign the government of President Alberto Fujimori has manipulated the media, harassed and threatened democratic opponents and conducted smear campaigns against Peruvian election monitors and the independent Ombudsman's Office, evidence of serious irregularities in the process.
Legal proceedings regarding government pressure against media outlets indicate that the judicial system lacks independence and can be used for political purposes. So, too, did the events surrounding the court decision last year to allow President Fujimori to run for an unprecedented third straight term.
The Fujimori government also has undermined the independence and credibility of the national electoral authorities by registering a pro-government group through apparently fraudulent means, and it has used state resources and facilities, including food programmes, for partisan political purposes.
All of this is evidence that the conditions for free and fair elections have not been established in Peru. However, the country's democratic forces, including the SI member Peruvian Aprista Party, as well as independent rights groups and civic organisations, are still struggling and campaigning actively to overcome the enormous odds against them. The Socialist International offers all of them its full support and calls upon the entire international community to do the same.
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