missions rendered similar verdicts.
The government reportedly lobbied for the OAS observation on the
supposition that the OAS would act as a counterweight to the more critical Carter Center NDI.
Guatemalan foreign minister Eduardo Stein was appointed to head the mission.
Peruvian electoral law prohibits a president from campaigning while exercising official duties and from
using public funds to promote his candidacy.
However, all of the international observers expressed
concerns about the possible misuse of state resources by officials to promote the electoral fortunes of the
government's Per 2000 alliance. President Fujimori's February announcement of a program to
distribute public land to thousands of urban squatters (PROFAM) was viewed by the opposition as a
blatant wielding of state resources for electoral ends. Government propaganda painted on public sites
was also an ongoing issue in the campaign, particularly since some of the slogans were painted on the
hillsides of military installations with the approval of the Ministry of Defense. There were also
accusations that officials associated with the food aid program (PRONAA) were advising recipients that
food assistance would be removed from soup kitchens unless participants voted for Per 2000, or that
extra food rations would be rewarded in neighborhoods with a strong vote for the president.
An ostensible opening of commercial television to opposition candidates was slated to begin in March.
After prodding from the JNE and international observers, television outlets agreed to provide fifteen free
minutes of television time to the ten registered political organizations. The fifteen minute solution did
little to remedy the continued inequalities in access and coverage of the candidates. Channels 4 and 5, for
example, aired their free time close to 11:00 pm to a reduced audience. Other developments raised
questions about the nexus between business and politics in the world of journalism. Radio 1160 in Lima
was shut down when its equipment was confiscated in legal proceedings aimed at settling the station's
debt. The confiscation coincided with the launching of the station's new political program, Waves of
Freedom hosted by Fujimori critic Cesar Hildebrandt.
When Alejandro Toledo of
surged to second place in the March polls, he replaced Andrade
and Castaneda as the principal target in what fellow candidates called the government's dirty war
against the opposition. New media attacks involved accusations about wrongdoing in his personal and
financial affairs, along with what Toledo maintained were distorted representations of his policy
positions, including his position on food aid. Toledo was also accused of close ties with ex president
Alan Garcia, the symbol of the worst excesses of the populism of the 1980s.
On 29 February, a scandal broke involving an alleged forgery of a million voter signatures by the
Nacional Independiente Per 2000
, one of the four political organizations forming Per 2000. An
informant involved in the scheme described the operation and its supervision by a Lima district
councilman and close associate of a high level presidential advisor. While officials reacted by calling for
an investigation and scrambling to distance themselves from
felonious actions, government
opponents lodged petitions with the JNE to annul Fujimori's candidacy on the basis of the fraud
allegations. ONPE chief Jose Portillo suggested that all political organizations trafficked in forged
signatures and that signatures on the petitions submitted by political organizations would be reviewed.
The International Federation for Human Rights coincided with Carter NDI, while the British based Electoral
Reform International Service (ERIS), pointed to the inequities in media access and the government's unwillingness
to remedy problems in the election environment.
Article 361 of the law specifically bans the president from making political statements when inaugurating or
inspecting public works projects.
Portillo's remark provoked Accion Popular to file a defamation suit against Portillo for suggesting that all parties
were guilty of a criminal act.
H:\INCOMING\July24\MSI Submission\Fn Email.doc