January 10, 2006

Peru bans Fujimori from running for president

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Peru's election board on Tuesday
rejected a bid by detained former President Alberto Fujimori to
run for president in April on the grounds that he is barred
from holding public office until 2011.

In the government's official gazette, the National
Electoral Board cited the ban imposed by Congress in 2001 and
said Fujimori has two days to appeal the decision.

His supporters said they still would push to register the
67-year-old former leader.

"We are going to fight all the legal and political battles
so Fujimori's candidacy is upheld," pro-Fujimori congresswoman
Martha Chavez told RPP radio.

Fujimori, credited with defeating Peru's violent Shining
Path rebels and controlling hyperinflation during his 1990-2000
presidency, is being detained in Chile, where he arrived late
last year after five years in self-exile in Tokyo.

In its extradition request to Chile, the Peruvian
government has accused him of stealing $15 million in state
cash and using excessive anti-terrorism methods, such as death
squads, to crush Shining Path.

Fujimori resigned the presidency in 2000 by sending a fax
from Japan as he came under scrutiny in a corruption scandal.
In 2001 Congress banned him from public office for 10 years,
accusing him of abandoning his post.

Fujimori supporters have said they plan to base their
appeal on the grounds that Peru's constitution bars only
convicted criminals from running for president.

Fujimori's daughter, Keiko, was backed by thousands of
supporters in Lima on Friday when she registered the former
leader for the April election. Polls show that Fujimori has
between 15 percent to 20 percent of voter support, making him
one of the most popular candidates.

Peru has 24 presidential candidates vying to take office on
July 28 but many have little backing. Center-right ex-congress
woman Lourdes Flores and retired army nationalist Ollanta
Humala are heading the polls with about 20 percent support.

The electoral board's decision on Fujimori also rules out
his party Si Cumple (Yes, He Delivers) from fielding another
candidate. Chavez said she had registered as a candidate to run
under the Fujimori banner with the Alianza Para el Futuro
(Alliance for the Future) party.

Political analysts said she would struggle to replace the

"The loyalty of Fujimori's supporters is to him and him
alone," said political analyst Mirko Lauer.