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Peru Electoral Court Lets Leader Stay in Presidential Race

  • Associated Press

Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, of the "Fuerza Popular" political party, waves to supporters as she campaigns in San Juan de Lurigancho shantytown on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, March 22, 2016.

Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, of the "Fuerza Popular" political party, waves to supporters as she campaigns in San Juan de Lurigancho shantytown on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, March 22, 2016.

Peru's electoral council on Thursday rejected a move to bar leading presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori from the first round of voting on April 10.

The decision published early in the morning said the court ruled out vote-buying allegations against Fujimori, the daughter of former strongman Alberto Fujimori, who is serving 25 years in prison for authorizing death squads and corruption during his government from 1990 to 2000.

The tribunal earlier banned two other candidates from the first round of voting, including the leading challenger to Fujimori, Julio Guzman, on grounds his party violated its internal rules in selecting him. That decision was seen as so rigorous that the European Union and the Organization of American States expressed concern.

Polls show none of the candidates is likely to pass the 50 percent needed to win on the first round, so a June runoff is likely. And while Fujimori leads the polls, they also show that many Peruvians say they would never vote for her to succeed President Ollanta Humala in July.

The complaint against Fujimori stemmed from a campaign event at which she was present. The equivalent of $89 was awarded to the winners of a dance contest, while Peruvian law prohibits candidates from giving more than roughly $6 during campaign events.

The electoral council has also disqualified candidate Cesar Acuna for handing out cash at a campaign event.

No other candidate has been polling above 10 percent - including former two-time President Alan Garcia.

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