Official: Peru Needs To Take Action

Associated Press -- 29 December 2000

LIMA, Peru - Election officials said Friday that special measures were needed to ensure fair balloting in the country's April 8 general elections.

There would be ``serious risks'' to the vote if efforts to overhaul the balloting system are not stepped up, said Benito Portocarrero, a spokesman for the Election Processes Office.

He did not specify the measures to be taken, saying election officials would meet next week with political party representatives to discuss preparations.

Peru's electoral system is undergoing a makeover after presidential and congressional balloting earlier this year was marred by allegations of fraud.

Fernando Tuesta, who recently took charge of the agency, suggested earlier this month that a postponement might be needed to finish the changes. On Friday, however, Portocarrero said the agency was still aiming for April 8.

Disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori (news - web sites) won a third five-year term last May in a runoff that was boycotted by his main opponent, Alejandro Toledo, after he refused to postpone the ballot to test a questionable vote-counting computer system.

Fujimori was sacked by Congress last month after he fled to Japan amid mounting corruption scandals.