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Guatemala: Legitimacy on the line: Human Rights and the 2003 Guatemalan elections

, Index number: AMR 34/051/2003

Guatemala is scheduled to go to the polls on 9 November 2003, to elect its new President, Vice-President and Congress in an atmosphere which Amnesty International (AI) fears could threaten the legitimacy of the country's political, electoral and judicial institutions. Amnesty International is particularly concerned at a number of factors which suggest that political violence may be exceptionally high and there are special reasons to fear that acts of fraud of fundamental importance may be perpetrated. This document gives general information on the elections: the context in which they are taking place, the candidates, their political parties, the institutions which are to organise and supervise the electoral contest and the issues facing the voters. Reactions of the international community to recent developments in Guatemala as they relate to the upcoming poll are described, followed by the steps that AI's membership will be taking to press for a fair and free poll, free of violence and human rights violations, and carried out in a context of respect for the rule of law. The document concludes with the recommendations that the organisation is making to the Guatemalan candidates and the international community regarding the elections.

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