The RENIEC and the ONPE are also subject to controversy and allegations of political manipulation.
The presidents of both agencies are appointed by the National Judicial Council whose membership is
largely beholden to the Executive. There have been numerous investigations of RENIEC, examining
whether agents of the National Intelligence Service (SIN) had infiltrated the agency, whether staff were
engaged in corruption, and why 50,000 military and police personnel were able to vote, illegally, in the
1995 elections. Members of ONPE staff were also cited for their collaboration with the massive
falsification of signatures in the registration of the pro Fujimori party, Peru 2000, and actual
manipulation of the vote count on election day.
In summary, not only has the electoral process become limited as an arena of free and fair competition
and as a means for reigning in state authority, but also the official arbiters of the game themselves have
been called into question. There are other actors who can or should serve as allies in an effort to restore
fair play. First, the competitors themselves parties and movements are allowed and encouraged to
field poll watchers to observe the voting booths on elections day, to assure that there is no fraud.
However, the sheer number of voting locales (over 3,000) and individual voting tables or booths (87,000
mesas de votacion
nationwide) makes this a daunting task; in the 2000 election, none of the competing
parties had the social bases or local on the ground structures to cover this. Although opposition parties
had originally agreed to coordinate their poll watching activities in the 2000 contest, the ultimately were
unable to do so. Parties, civic groups, and international observers all pointed out that in the charged
political climate of 2000, unless a voting booth was monitored the potential for errors and abuse was
quite high. Because of this, the Ombudsman s staff and volunteers also played an important role in
monitoring approximately 30% of the voting locales during the first round election on April 9.
Within civil society, the most important actor is the
Asociacion Civil Transparencia,
a non partisan NGO
that has observed all general and municipal elections since its founding in 1994, using a national network
of volunteers. Its goal is to enhance participation and transparency in the electoral process by training
poll watchers, conducting voter education efforts, and promoting legal initiatives related to reform of the
is a membership organization, but its main financial support comes
from international donors. Other key allies in
's efforts are Catholic, Jewish and Protestant
churches, which assist in providing local offices, transportation, and volunteers.
collaboration agreements with approximately 250 NGOs throughout Peru and coordinates closely with
Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos
In the first round of elections on April 9, 2000,
fielded 19,000 volunteer observers and
did a parallel quick count of a sample of 1,020 voting tables which became the center of public debate
about the first round results (see below). It also monitored all issues of concern during the pre electoral
campaign, including media coverage of candidates, the use or misuse of state resources, and the accuracy
of the electoral registry. Between elections, however,
's role is less well defined. The
relative emphasis that core staff places on activities such as ongoing civic education or advocacy for
political reform depends in part on the willingness of donors to support them.
Parties and the Party System
Peru has never had a strong party system. Throughout the 20
century, authoritarian rulers generally
proscribed and persecuted reform oriented parties, or made efforts to replace them with various forms of
corporatist state control. Even when party competition was permitted, it involved just a small elite and
excluded a significant share of the population until 1980.
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