Rising Star Julio Guzman Barred From Peru Presidential Race

  • Board accepts objections to earlier ruling in favor of Guzman
  • Presidential candidate Cesar Acuna barred in separate decision

The rising star of Peru’s presidential race, Julio Guzman, saw his bid snubbed out Friday by the electoral board, just five weeks before the April 10 vote.

One week after giving him the all clear, the Lima Centro 1 board backtracked and said the failure to properly register his party meant he was ineligible to run for the presidency. Guzman can appeal the decision, Board President Manuel Miranda told state television channel JNETV.

The former economist at the Inter-American Development Bank who is making his first bid for political office had moved into second place in the opinion polls. Virtually unknown to voters only a few months ago, he had 18 percent of voter intentions in a survey by Ipsos Peru published on Feb. 21, running 12 percentage points behind Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori.

Guzman said the ruling was a result of “electoral fraud” and called on supporters to protest in downtown Lima’s San Martin square today, in a message posted on his Facebook page. “This is a blow to democracy and a fraud ahead of time,” Guzman wrote.

The Lima board’s ruling a week ago received formal objections from 11 people, including from another presidential candidate and members of rival political parties, according to Lima-based El Comercio newspaper.

In a separate ruling, the electoral board also barred Cesar Acuna for breaking the electoral law by making cash donations to market traders in a town outside Lima during his campaign, the board said in an e-mailed statement. Acuna, the owner of one’s of Peru’s biggest university groups, had 6 percent in the poll.

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