By Vatican News staff writer
In view of the Presidential and Congressional elections scheduled to take place on Sunday, 11 April, the Episcopal Conference of Peru is urging political parties to respect electoral rules and ethical commitments as well as the official results of the vote.
The bishops launched their appeal in a letter, dated 5 April 2021. Looking ahead to a voting process that takes place within the context of the coronavirus pandemic, they highlight the need for a serene climate in which to promote tolerance and respect among voters throughout the process, as well as when final results are officially released.
“In the past five years,” the Peruvian bishops say, "democracy has been seriously undermined by the succession of four Presidents and two Congresses,” giving life to a situation that has not allowed the country to pursue integral development, consolidate democratic institutions and deal effectively with the pandemic that is causing much suffering in the country.
Hence, in the wake of Pope Francis' call for "ethical politics”, the bishops underscore how politics must be orientated towards the common good, care for those most in need, engagement with the most vulnerable populations in the pursuit of dialogue, justice, reconciliation and service to others, in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of each person.
They point out that impartiality is demanded of the competent authorities, as is the need to be informed of the official election results quickly and reliably, in order to dispel existing doubts and avoid confusion and polarization for the sake of the country's stability.
The future is in everyone's hands
Finally, the Peruvian bishops appeal directly to all citizens to exercise their democratic right and duty with responsibility, because the "future is in their hands".
The invitation includes the need to respect health safety protocols and the bishops conclude noting that: “The pandemic must not prevent the holding of free and fair, transparent and responsible elections.”
With almost 1,600,000 Covid-19 infections and more than 53,000 deaths, Peru is among several Latin American countries struggling to contain a recent surge in infections against the backdrop of a critically stretched health infrastructure.