The Peruvian government has acted decisively to address the serious problems that affected last year's elections. President Paniagua's administration has committed itself to ensuring the neutrality of the government and the armed forces during the upcoming elections, including prohibiting the use of government resources for political purposes. Also, the government has named new leaders to two electoral agencies--those responsible for overseeing and implementing the elections--and these leaders have emphasized their full commitment to conducting free and fair elections. The Agency for International Development's election-related assistance has been timely, responsive, and coordinated with other donors, and has been responsive to Peru's needs by funding electoral observation efforts before and during the elections; supporting technical assistance efforts to the Peruvian electoral agencies; and funding the delivery of election-related information to voters, journalists, candidates, and political parties. In addition, the agency has coordinated its election-related assistance with the other international donors that are also helping Peru hold democratic elections in 2001. Although Peru appears to be on track to conduct free and fair elections in 2001, Peru faces several important challenges over the next 3-1/2 weeks before the first round of elections, including the changes in leadership, hiring of temporary workers, and educating voters as to the changes to the electoral system.
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