4.
The General Elections of 2000: Competition and Controversy
Many of the obstacles to democratic competition mentioned above came to a head during the general
elections of 2000, which experts consider to be among the most irregular and controversial in recent
Latin American history. During the campaign itself, the main charges documented by national and
international observors included the use of public resources to support the President s party, harassment
of the press and opposition candidates, inadequate opposition access to the media, and the falsification of
signatures for purposes of registration of the pro Fujimori Peru 2000 movement.  The vote count on
election day was also rife with charges of irregularities and outright fraud.
The idea that the opposition parties and movements might field a unity candidate and platform for the
presidential race this time around was laid to rest in a joint announcement by Alberto Andrade of 
Somos
Peru
 and Luis Castaneda Lossio of 
Solidaridad Nacional
, the two leading contenders at the outset of this
race, who confirmed that they would pursue separate campaigns. The decision came after months of talks
between the candidates and their staffs failed to produce any agreement on which camp would cede the
presidential slot and prospective appointments in a new government.  With the unity candidacy shelved,
nine parties and movements vied to replace Fujimori in the presidential slot.
10
Complaints that the government was masterminding a  dirty war  against its opponents became a
permanent feature in the political discourse. The first and most vicious personal attacks were launched by
the major broadcast media against Andrade and other 
Somos Per 
 candidates, and Andrade accused the
Peruvian intelligence service of directing this effort. For his part, the President shunned participating in
formal debates and avoided head to head exchanges with its opponents during the campaign.
Unequal treatment of candidates by television outlets emerged as another key issue in the campaign.
Transparencia
 produced a series of reports showing that President Fujimori was the subject of most
television news coverage while his rivals received next to none between October 1999 and January 2000.
In response to the criticism, Prime Minister Alberto Bustamante announced the government would insure
fair treatment of candidates by the government operated television station, including an extension of the
number of days that the public Channel 7 would provide free air time to candidates.  Opposition
candidates also charged that television stations were refusing to sell commercial time for campaign
advertisements. Concerns about media manipulation also surfaced in the public debate about polls.
Serious questions about the credibility of the official electoral institutions also remained  throughout the
process.  
Transparencia
 issued a critical report on the state of the voter registration list, calling it
obsolete. The report estimated that the names of at least 345,851 deceased individuals remained on the
rolls. Since such errors created a margin for fraud on election day, 
Transparencia
 recommended the JNE
disapprove the voter registration list and continue to allow it to be updated as late as thirty days prior to
the election. JNE approved the voter registration list, but gave ONPE permission to correct errors until
February 15.
The government also came under harsh international criticism on issues related to election conditions.
The second Carter Center NDI mission issued a report concluding that,  the political conditions for free
and fair elections have not yet been established.   It urged the government to improve opposition media
access through the government purchase of television space for parties, take measures to stop the
harassment of opposition candidates, and assure no misuse of state resources for electoral ends.  Other
                                                    
10
 Fielding a presidential candidate is considered to be a way of increasing the visibility and appeal of a party's
congressional list. Peruvian electoral law allows candidates for the vice presidency to run concurrently for Congress.
H:\INCOMING\July24\MSI Submission\Fn Email.doc
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