2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 12, 2000
Fujimori moves closer to victor
LIMA, Peru - With President Alberto Fujimori
just shy of the majority of votes needed to win an
unprecedented third term, details surfaced yesterday
of voting irregularities and possible fraud.
Opposition parties said ballots with the names of
other candidates were waxed over, allowing only
Fujimori's name to be marked. Poll watchers also
reported finding ballots favoring opposition candi-
dates that appeared to have been sabotaged to invali-
date them and newspapers said the election board's
computers may have been tampered with.
Rafael Roncagliolo, head of the private monitor-
ing group Transparencia, decried a "volume of irreg-
ularities and contamination without precedent."
Fujimori denied any fraud at a news conference
Monday night, his only appearance since Sunday's
elections. "The process has been clean, free and
fair," he said. "There were small incidents that did
not affect the process."
Officials said yesterday that with 86.7 percent of
the ballots counted, Fujimori had 49.96 percent of
the vote, compared to 40.28 for Alejandro Toledo.
Exit polls and unofficial vote tallies by indepen-
dent monitors after the election had indicated Fuji-
mori received significantly less support and
projected he would not reach the 50 percent plus one
vote needed to avoid a runoff. If no candidate wins a
majority of valid votes, a runoff would be held in
late May or early June.
At a news conference yesterday, Toledo said he
and his Peru Posible party would not accept the elec-
tion results "if there is no second round."
In Washington, Clinton administration spokesman
Joe Lockhart said the White House was aware of
reports of irregularities. "We expect it will be a
runoff, and I think serious questions will be raised if
the vote count indicated something otherwise," he
Transparencia and the Council for Peace, a human
rights organization, reported various irregularities,
including the discovery of ballots already marked
ahead of time for Fujimoni near a polling station in a
working-class neighborhood of Lima. Similar
marked ballots were found in the town of San Mar-
Poll watchers also reported finding ballots favor-
ing opposition candidates that appeared to have been
sabotaged to invalidate them.
"There have been innumerable accusations ... the
most general being the distribution of copies of pre-
marked ballots," the National Ombudsman Office said.
ACROSS THE NATION
House approves mandatory sentences
WASHINGTON - Rushing to dress up its resume on gun control before
the one-year anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings, the
House yesterday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would provide
$100 million to states that impose mandatory prison terms on gun-toting
The bill would funnel the money over five years to states imposing mand ry
minimum five-year sentences on anyone who uses or carries a firearm in a o-
lent crime or serious drug trafficking offense or for a violent convict who is
caught with a gun.
Some Democrats attacked the Republican-sponsored legislation as a "fraud"
that would do little to reduce gun violence, unless coupled with stronger gun
laws, such as background checks of all buyers at gun shows.
Republican leaders are "trying to look like they're doing something about gun
violence when, in fact, they're not," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) Still, a
majority of Democrats joined Republicans in passing the bill, 358-60. It now
goes to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved.
White House press secretary Joe Lockhart declined to say whether President
Clinton would sign the bill into law. Lockhart discounted the measure's i nr-
tance, accusing Republicans of playing "a cruel political trick on the Amean
public" because the bill falls short of what is needed to stem gun violence.
If your plans for
time is running OUT!
asset forfeiture bill
WASHINGTON - Parents whose
kids get caught growing marijuana at
home will be among those in less dan-
ger of losing their property under legis-
lation Congress completed yesterday
that would make it harder for the feder-
al government to seize assets connected
The legislation, supported by groups
ranging from the American Civil Liber-
ties Union to the National Rifle Associ-
ation, passed the House yesterday on a
voice vote. The bill has already won
Senate approval and is expected to be
signed by the president.
The legislation would shift the bur-
den of proof in asset forfeiture cases
from the property owner, where it now
lies, to the government.
Key sponsors, including the chair-
men and ranking Democrats of both the
House and Senate Judiciary commit-
tees, have argued that while civil forfei-
ture isa valuable law enforcement tool,
particularly against drug traffickers,
changes are needed to stop abuses that
victimize innocent property owners.
"Who would have believed that
under. our current law the government
could confiscate a person's private
property on a mere showing of proba-
ble cause?" said Rep. John Conyers of
Michigan, top Democrat on the Judicia-
Date, time set for
WASHINGTON - The Justice
Department has set 10 a.m. tomorrow
as the moment when custody of Elian
Gonzalez will be transferred to his
father from relatives in Miami. In a
letter to be sent to the relatives by his
morning at the latest, they wilfe
instructed to bring the boy to Opa
Locka airport, near Miami.
Attorney General Janet Reno, who
met here yesterday with the mayors of
Miami and Dade County, planned to
travel to Miami today to talk with
Cuban American community leaders
- and possibly with the relatives -
in an attempt to head off a violent
reaction by protesters. 0
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AROUND THE t
3 children killed in
mine field accident
SARAJEVO - Helpless to save her,
NATO peacekeepers and townspeople
watched from the edge of a minefield
as a dying 11-year-old girl waved and
pleaded for hours to be rescued.
Erma Alic and two other youngsters
died Monday after venturing into the
minefield on the outskirts of the capital,
the latest casualties of the Bosnian war
that ended five years ago.
"For two hours, the girl was show-
ing signs of life, waved her hand and
called for help. Then she went quiet,"
said eyewitness Nenad Krestalica.
His wife, Stana, said she was gar-
dening when she heard the explosion.
"We all started running. We heard a
child's voice screaming for help," she
said. "We called the police and they
came, but nobody could approach the
Police identified the other dead
children as Goran Biscevic, 12, and
Haris Balicevac, 12.
Dozens of people are killed and
injured every month in explosions of
some of the millions of land mines
strewn across Bosnia.
As the rescue team carried the bodies
of the children from the minef d,
Ema's father broke into tears, turn o
his wife and said, "It's our child," other
witnesses recalled. The woman fainted.
Clinton, Barak meet
to rejuvenate talks
WASHINGTON - With the peace
process deadlocked and the Arab-
Israeli mood growing increasi*y
sour, President Clinton and Israeli
Prime Minister Ehud Barak met at the
White House yesterday to discuss
ways to rejuvenate talks that hold the
key to Barak's political future and to
Clinton's peacemaking legacy.
The White House meeting came at a
time of unusual tension in U.S.-Israeli
relations over the Barak government's
decision to sell a sophisticated air-
borne radar system to China.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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