Half of the candidates in Peru’s presidential election have abandoned or been banned from next week’s polls and one of the leading contenders may follow, plunging the South American country into political uncertainty. An electoral law in force since January has ruled several candidates out of the running in the April 10 contest. One is even running his campaign from a jail cell. And further disruption could come if accusations of vote-buying lead to the elimination of banker and economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is running second in the polls to the conservative Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Peru’s jailed ex-leader Alberto Fujimori. Their faces are already printed on 20 million ballot papers, but they have each been accused of handing out money or gifts to voters during their campaigns. The new law passed in January cracks down on such activities.
The 40-year-old Fujimori was spared Friday when the National Electoral Board ruled her candidacy could move forward. A local electoral court is hearing charges against 77-year-old Kuczynski. A ruling is due soon.
Critics complain the new rule is being applied arbitrarily. “We are the only country in the region with a law that allows for candidates to be banned from an election,” said electoral expert Fernando Tuesta. He said that had not happened since 1950 when the country was under a military dictatorship.
The president of the electoral board, Francisco Tavara, insisted its judges were impartial.
Full Article: Half of candidates out of chaotic Peru election.