The JNE ruled against challenges to Per  2000's legal status, arguing that time for challenging parties
and candidates had expired.
The scandal reinforced the consensus that Peru was failing to meet standards for free and fair elections.
The OAS mission issued bulletins stressing that conditions remained far from satisfactory, and reiterated
concerns regarding inequities in media access, the lack of confidence in institutions, and the need for
timely results in the investigation of the Per  2000 forgery case.  A third report by the Carter Center NDI
mission concluded that  conditions for a fair election campaign have not been established. 
14
  The White
House released a statement voicing its agreement with the Carter Center and OAS missions and called on
Peru to restore confidence in the electoral process and guarantee vote counting procedures.  The United
States Senate introduced a resolution proposing that the U.S. withdraw aid and consideration in
international financial institutions should the elections be deemed unfair by international observers.
a.
The Vote Counting and its Aftermath
The counting of the votes cast in the April 9 first round election proved as controversial as the campaign
that preceded it.  The process extended from the evening of April 9 until the evening of April 12.
Between Sunday (4/9) and Wednesday (4/12), the ONPE issued reports with partial results, raising
suspicions that ONPE was preparing to declare Fujimori the winner in the first round, though quick count
projections by 
Transparencia 
indicated that he had not won fifty percent of the valid vote. The ONPE's
announcement on April 12 that Fujimori had failed to win the fifty percent of the valid vote by a razor 
thin margin put an end to the immediate crisis, but suspicions remained concerning ONPE's conduct
during the first round.
Even before the polls closed on 9 April, ONPE was being criticized by 
Transparencia
 and the OAS
electoral observation mission. Two simulations of vote counting staged by ONPE failed to produce
successful results.  Anxiety over the count grew when initial exit poll numbers were reported by Peru's
leading pollsters, then reversed several hours later by the same pollsters when they announced their quick
count figures.  All three companies contracted by Peruvian television stations showed Toledo ahead, but
Toledo's lead vanished in the quick counts  all of which showed Fujimori getting close to but not
clinching fifty percent. 
Transparencia
 put Fujimori's vote at 48.7 percent.
By night of April 10, however, President Fujimori stood less than one half of a percentage point away
from being declared winner of the first round, and he publicly underscored that the final determination
rested with ONPE and the JNE.  The reaction to ONPE's possible deviation from the quick count figures
was swift. In a joint press conference with 
Transparencia
 officials on 10 April, OAS chief Eduardo Stein
said that delays and lack of explanations by ONPE gave Peruvians reason to believe that  something
sinister  was going on in the counting process.  ONPE's vote count came to an end on Wednesday, 12
April, when Jose Portillo declared Fujimori the winner of the first round with 49.84 percent of the vote
and Toledo trailing with 40.31 percent.  The ONPE did not deliver the official results of the election to
the JNE until April 29, and a second round runoff was immediately set for May 28.
The delay in the reporting of congressional results also raised questions about alleged manipulation of
the preferential vote. 
Transparencia
 noted that parties were actually losing votes as ONPE's process of
                                                    
14
 It recommended the cessation of harassment against candidates, the Defensoria del Pueblo, and election
observers; the return of television channels 2 and 13, and radio station 1160 to their original owners; and vigorous
investigation into the Per  2000 forgery scandal
H:\INCOMING\July24\MSI Submission\Fn Email.doc
36
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