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Wednesday, 31 May, 2000, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Peru: Does the election have any credibility?
Alberto Fujimori has been elected president of Peru for a third consecutive term. This time, however, he ran unopposed because the only opposition candidate, Alejandro Toledo, had pulled out of the contest arguing that the election was rigged in favour of the president.
International election monitors agreed with Mr Toledo. The Organisation of American States withdrew its observers before the poll, saying that the process would not be free or fair. The US has condemned the process and cast doubt on Mr Fujimori's legitimacy.
But the president remains defiant. In an address to the nation shortly after the vote, he said the process had been "just, fair and transparent".
Has Mr Fujimori been legitimately elected? Should the population heed oppostion calls for civil disobedience? What should the international community do? Tell us what you think.
Edward Murphy, Thailand
It is better to have an imperfect democracy than none at all. Considering the events in Pakistan and more recently Fiji nobody wants to see a military coup in Peru resulting in some tinpot general like Pinochet taking over.
Fujimori has violated all forms of human rights ever since the beginning of his 'dictatorship'. If you look at the news of human rights violations from the beginning of the 90's, it's obvious that these violations have occurred.
Cesario Alexandria, Brazil
Now Mr Fujimori says the process has been "just, fair and transparent"...He promises he will amend the errors and develop democracy...Does he mean he has waited ten years to think about it?
Last Sunday there were no elections in Peru. There was only one candidate, Fujimori, who used all his power to spread a message of hope. He said that things would improve.This is difficult to believe given that he had all the power and did not use it wisely. He changed the Constitution, the law and the people in charge. His ambition will ultimately destroy him. Unfortunately, the Peruvian people are also going to suffer from the international sanctions that other countries may impose on our impoverished land
Kirsty Palmer, Peru
As an American, I see that the Constitution is one aspect of what holds the country together and keeps it strong. If a President is above the Constitution, then it has no value. He has changed the Constitution, and that is unacceptable, regardless of his popularity. It was a dogmatic tactic used to keep him in power for five more years. It should not be tolerated.
This election is another bloody reminder of the cynical way dictators, especially in Latin America, use rigged votes to legitimise their repressive regimes. In the eighties, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala all used this tactic, and in the case of the latter two, they did it with full US support. Sadly, when it looks like there will be true change, as in the Guatemalan election of 1954 or the Haitian election of 1991, the US intercedes and that's it for democracy there. Maybe, in this case, the US will actually carry forth with its threat to strain relations with Peru. Though I doubt it.
Jack Crowe, USA
This debate like so many debates about "democracy" in Latin America and much of the developing world remains a moot point. When will the international community acknowledge that democracy is so much more than just simply holding elections? It must be founded on a multitude of principles that include an independent and professional judiciary and a legal system based on equality. These foundations do not exist in Peru and require immediate attention.
Excuse me, but I thought that Peru was a sovereign independent nation state, so what the hell has its elections got to do with other countries? There are flaws in the electoral systems of the UK. The last "closed list" Euro elections in 1999 were undemocratic, as voters had to vote for an "all or nothing" list of candidates chosen by the political parties. However, I would object most strongly if Peruvian "monitors" interfered with British elections. It's time we concentrated on the problems in the UK and stopped sticking our noses into the affairs of other nations!
Mr. Fujimori seems to be pretty confident about his support amongst Peruvians and he seems very much to care about the future of his country. Why, then, has he been so reluctant to postpone an election that is going to destroy his political credibility and, even worse, the very stability of Peru? This situation doesn't make sense, does it?
Miguel Arrunategui, Peru
If the international community do not support a tyrant regime, things will improve around the globe. Unfortunately there is not the political will to do that. This is why dictators such as Fujimori is openly challenging the basic principles of democracy.
Mr. Fujimori has not had any legitimacy ever since the fraud of the Constituents Congress (1992) aimed at reforming the Constitution. At that time, some international organisations gave their O.K. Big mistake. The harm was done then. How long it will take to restore the LAW, only God knows.
Ewan, Peru (British National)
Fujimori has violated all possible: from human rights to all that is valid and fair in a democratic system. Corruption has been a plague in these developing countries, where good-natured people must tolerate the dictating grip of this kind of individuals. Let's stop him
We had almost 15 years of terrorism. More than 30,000 people died by this violence. Now things have changed. We do not have that kind of violence. Fujimori made the decision to destroy the terrorist groups. I am a journalist, and I work in the Ministry of agriculture of Perú; in 1990 I used to travel to the sierra of my country and I saw all the things that the Shining Path did: Murdered people, harvests wasted, destroyed properties. Now the situation is different, peace exists and there is the hope that the situation changes. That is the country that has changed thanks to president Fujimori.
Maria Amato, Peru
Apart from Fidel Castro, Fujimori is the only head of a Latin American state to be classed as an enemy of the press by the International Press Association. There is no question that the vote in the 1st round of elections was rigged. I am very pessimistic as to the result of the 2nd round. Toledo has tried to boycott the elections as he cannot campaign effectively against a united pro-government tabloid press and biased TV. The problem is that Peruvian law obliges all eligible voters to vote. Failing to vote is punished by fines and reduction of rights (like denial of a passport). The boycott is therefore unlikely to be effective, thus helping Fujimori to legitimise his 2nd round victory.
You cannot have a democratic election without an opposition party or candidate; this is a simple fact which people cannot and must not ignore. The Peruvian people and more importantly the international community should boycott these elections and call for them to be postponed until a legitimate opposition party/candidate can be found.
Will Mr. Fujimori have any legitimacy if he is NOT elected unopposed? Mr. Fujimori has already lost his legitimacy. It is only natural for Mr. Fujimori to oppose international pressure to postpone the elections. Do you expect him to roll over and beg forgiveness? What should the international community do? Nothing, the Peruvian people well know how to handle this situation.
George Borges, Peru
The destiny of Peru only concerns Peruvians...And we, the majority of the population, elected Fujimori on April 9 and we will elect him again on May 28.
The sheer scale of the problem in Peru is overwhelming, and not solely found within the political system. The very foundations of this country - its systems and organisations - are also rife with underhand practices.
How can this country progress when it continues to be a third-world poverty stricken place where $5-10 can get you out of almost any situation? In my opinion these elections should be postponed and monitored by external observers, but that will never happen while the country remains in the grips of its virtual dictator. The only hope now is that the Peruvian people will shake off their normal apathy and do something about it before it is too late.
Samantha Dunne, Peru
The elections do not have any legitimacy if Fujimori runs unopposed. In fact, Fujimori was not born in Peru and should not be allowed to be President. His own sister stated over 20 years ago that he was not born in Peru. Fujimori was born before his family arrived in Peru.
If America acted, instead of criticising the UN, in Sierra Leone, the UN would be able to act in Peru.
Everyone should defend the democracy, and the decision of most Peruvians at this time is to have him as a President for the next five years. Allegations of fraud, technical difficulties, etc... are just electoral/political arguments to diminish the legality of upcoming elections.
Daniel Arevalo, Peru
Elections in South America have always seemed to be tainted. Why should this one be any different. So yes, let the election go ahead.
His political party is simply a populist vehicle with no existence beyond him, and his associates (although conceivably not the president himself) are notoriously corrupt. The man in essence rules alone with just a group of technocratic advisors, and is about as democratic as Yeltsin was in Russia.
This election is the final feather in his dictatorial hat. No legitimacy should be accorded to someone who controls the media, upon which most Peruvians rely for any political information due to the week party system and fractured nature of the country, and uses it to continually harass and slander his opponents. That observers stayed in Peru until this point is a miracle. While Fujimori did rescue Peru from Sendero and economic crisis, for democracy to survive at all "Chinochet" must go.
Robin Aynsley-Smith, United Kingdom
26 May 00 | Americas
Monitors pull out of Peru election
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