Peru Confirms Ban on Second-Place Candidate in Presidential Race

  • Electoral board ruling disqualifies Julio Guzman from election
  • Decision boosts Keiko Fujimori's chances of winning presidency

Peru’s national electoral board disqualified rising star Julio Guzman from the presidential race, removing the biggest threat to front-runner Keiko Fujimori a month before the vote.

The board’s electoral tribunal voted 3-2 in favor of a regional board’s decision to bar Guzman after his Todos por el Peru party allegedly violated electoral rules during its primaries, according to an e-mailed statement.

Guzman, a former economist at the Inter-American development bank who was virtually unknown a few months ago, had 17 percent support in a GfK Peru poll published March 6. Today’s ruling may boost the chances of Fujimori, the former congresswoman who lead the poll with 35 percent. She still lacks the 50 percent support needed to avoid a run off vote. Opinion polls showed Guzman as the candidate with best chances of defeating Fujimori in the case of a runoff on June 5.

“In the short term, the decision favors Keiko Fujimori because it reinforces the view that she doesn’t have any rivals,” David Sulmont, head of the Institute of Public Opinion at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, said by phone from Lima. “In the medium term, it could undermine the legitimacy of her probable electoral triumph because her rival was removed in an administrative process.”

In a separate vote, the board also upheld a decision to exclude private university tycoon Cesar Acuna from the race.

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