OAS prepares for second electoral round


(released by US State Department)

As the Organization of American States (OAS) begins efforts to
monitor the election of Peru’s next president, the United States is
prepared to work with any elected president who shares a common
commitment to democracy, development, and the fight against terrorism
and narcotrafficking, according to the U.S. State Department. 

Following a successful round of balloting on April 9, the second
round of elections in Peru will be held on June 4 between former
President Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala.  On May 9, the OAS announced
that it has begun the process of establishing the electoral observation
mission that will monitor the process. 

The OAS indicated that more than 100 international observers from
various countries across the Western Hemisphere will participate in the
electoral observation mission to be headed by former Canadian Minister
of Foreign Affairs Lloyd Axworthy. 

In a May 9 OAS press release, Axworthy attested to Peruvian
society’s firm commitment to a free, fair and open elections without
external interference. 

“Peruvians are the only agents of this electoral process,” according
to the OAS press release.  “Peru has adopted limits on what public
officials can say and do during the electoral process. … It is all the
more important that foreign governments respect the right of voters to
freely exercise the right of suffrage without undue influence.”

Axworthy’s comments follow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s
endorsement of Humala and comments critical of another candidate. 
Polls indicate Chavez’s remarks have hurt Humala’s popularity in Peru.

The United States has commended Peruvians on their commitment to
democracy and refrained from comment on Peru’s presidential candidates.

“We commend the Peruvian government and the Peruvian people for
their strong commitment to democracy and these successful elections,” a
State Department official said in a May 10 interview with the Washington File.  “It is not appropriate to comment on a choice that belongs solely in the hands of the Peruvian people.”

The State Department official added that the United States hopes the
second round of balloting in Peru is as successful as the first.  The
official also said the United States is ready to work with Peru’s new
government provided it shares common commitments.

“The U.S. and Peru share values and key strategic interests on many
issues, including our commitment to democracy and a free press, the
fight against terrorism and narcotrafficking, poverty eradication,
development through long-term economic liberalization, and
international cooperation,” the official said.  “We are prepared to
work closely with any elected Peruvian president who shares our
interests and values in these areas.”