Peru’s election, wrought with allegations of fraud and the questionable application of campaign rules that shrouded the final weeks before voting day in uncertainty, has garnered a stern report from observers, who have called for deep reforms to the country’s electoral system, local media reported Tuesday. The Organization of American States mission found that Sunday’s general elections were threatened by political insecurity for voters brought on by the last-minute disqualifications and lasting uncertainty about who would be on the ballot up to 48 hours before polls open. The mission called for an overhaul of the disqualifications system, arguing that in its current form, electoral authorities are not able to guarantee the political rights of voters or candidates.
The assessment comes after OAS chief Luis Almagro warned of “semi-democratic elections” in Peru just a week ahead of voting day, saying that a failure to ensure candidates’ participation would compromise the democratic process.
Decisions by electoral authorities in the final weeks of the campaign raised serious questions about transparency, partiality, and electoral fairness in Peru. In March, two presidential candidates were axed from the ballot. Both candidates’ exclusion sparked controversy.
One candidate who got the boot was Julio Guzman, previously in second place in the polls behind frontrunner Keiko Fujimori, excluded for procedural irregularities. Guzman and his supporters argued that the decision to block him from the race was politically motivated to benefit Fujimori and former President Alan Garcia, who ultimately didn’t gain support.