On Sunday (18 June) the people of Peru went to the polls for the first time in 15 years, to elect 100 representatives to a constituent assembly.
GV PAN Newspaper headlines announcing vote
GV Queues outside polling booth in city centre
SV Troops outside polling booths supervising voters.
SV & CU Votes being cast and checked (2 shots)
GV Armed soldier escorting voter to cast vote
GV Crowds of villagers waiting to cast votes, some carrying small children (4 shots)
SV Troops checking voters' papers outside booth (3 shots)
GV PAN Queues of people waiting to vote, watched by soldiers
CU Television set showing World Cup football match ZOOM OUT TO voter casting ballot
Early unofficial returns with 75 per cent of the votes in, put the Popular American Revolutionary Alliance and the Popular Christian Party in the lead, but votes for the country's left-wing parties were ahead of expectations. One of the main leftist party's leaders was arrested while casting his vote, and deported. He was retired General Leonidas Rodriguez Figueroa, Chairman of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, who had been underground for a month avoiding the deportation order.
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Background: On Sunday (18 June) the people of Peru went to the polls for the first time in 15 years, to elect 100 representatives to a constituent assembly. The poll is seen as a first step towards a return to constitutional government in the mountainous country of South America's west coast.
SYNOPSIS: More than 12-hundred candidates were nominated for the 100-seat assembly. They represent twelve individual parties, ranging from the far-left to the far-right. Final results are not expected to be announced for several days, but early unofficial returns indicated that two of the country's major right-wing parties had together captured about 63 per cent of the votes, while the left as a whole account for about a third. This was more than early opinion polls had forecast for the left-wing. The elections represent a first step in a staggered process intended to lead to general and presidential elections in 1980.
Peru has been ruled by a military-dominated government for the past ten years. The June 18 elections came very close to being cancelled less than a month ago when widespread riots in protest against prices led to the military junta under General Francisco Morales Bermudez to impose a state of emergency which included a ban on political weekly newspapers. Campaigning on radio and television was suspended, several politicians on the left were jailed or deported, and Lima's four-million people were placed under curfew laws.
The restrictive measures were rescinded only ten days before voting day, and many of the politicians taking part complained that elections could not be held while the country was in such a troubled state. Public apathy was feared as well, and Peru's Accion Popular Party, traditionally the second largest, withdrew from the contest. Some of the parties were worried that World-Cup matches on polling day would keep voters away, so many polling stations set up television sets to attract them.