Peru's Fujimori Rebuts Allegations Threatening Her Candidacy

  • Candidate risks becoming third contender banned in past month
  • Former congresswoman is leading polls ahead of April 10 vote

Keiko Fujimori, the front-runner in Peru’s presidential election, rejected allegations she broke electoral laws by participating in a prize-giving ceremony at a dance competition, as a Lima electoral board weighs whether she should be disqualified.

At a hearing on Monday, Pedro Spadaro, a spokesman for Fujimori’s Fuerza Popular, said the party didn’t organize the event, provide financing, nor did any member of the party hand over the prize money.

“Keiko Fujimori didn’t hand out money or prizes directly in any way,” Spadaro said, according to televised images from the hearing. “It was a cultural not a political event and wasn’t organized by Fuerza Popular,” Spadaro said.

Fujimori read out the names of prize winners at the event last month and her party previously gave money to the organization that hosted the event, the electoral board said in a report last week. Under an electoral law that took effect in January, candidates can be expelled for donating cash, food or goods directly or via a third party during their campaigns.

The three-member electoral board has three days to reach a verdict.

Polls, Support

Fujimori has more support than her two closest rivals combined, according to recent opinion polls, and her disqualification would throw the race wide open three weeks before the April 10 vote. The electoral board has already this month excluded two of Fujimori’s rivals, Julio Guzman and Cesar Acuna; Acuna for donating money during his campaign.

The daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori had 31 percent support in an Ipsos Peru poll published Sunday in El Comercio, compared with 15 percent for Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Alfredo Barnechea and Veronika Mendoza each had 12 percent. Ipsos questioned 1,715 people from March 15 to 17 and the poll had a margin of error of 2.3 percentage points.

A GfK Peru poll published in La Republica showed Fujimori with 34 percent, Kuczynski with 16 percent, Barnechea at 12 percent and Mendoza at 7.5 percent. GfK questioned 1,611 people from March 11 to 15 and the error margin was 2.4 percentage points.

Kuczynski, a former finance minister, denied media reports on Monday that his party gave beer to voters at an event in January.

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