Convicted Former President’s Daughter Just Might Be Peru’s Next President

REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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A plagiarist and a U.S.-educated economist were both disqualified Wednesday from running for the Peruvian presidency in April, clearing the way for the probable victory of a convicted former president’s daughter.

Keiko Fujimori, the former first lady of Peru as well as the daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, is leading in the polls and will reportedly get an approval bump due to the disqualification of two rivals. The candidate’s father, Alberto Fujimori, was convicted in 2007 and 2009 of abuse of power and authorizing deaths squads during the 1990s.

Both César Acuña, an education entrepreneur and owner of several universities in Peru, and Julio Guzman, an economist with a master’s degree from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, had their candidacies invalidated by the National Jury of Elections (JNE).

It was revealed in February that Acuña had plagiarized his Ph.D. thesis from the prestigious Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. JNE officials said he was disqualified because he gave money to voters in an illegal attempt to sway votes.

Guzman fell from favor with the JNE because of irregularities in how his party nominated him — reports say his unfamiliarity with the election process caused mistakes. Guzman previously worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C. for 10 years.

Acuña has already stated he will not challenge the ruling of the Peruvian Electoral Court and will simply “keep supporting his [party’s] candidates to Congress,” according to Peruvian daily El Comercio.

The first round of voting takes place April 10. If Fujimori — who is currently polling at 35 percent — gets over 50 percent of the vote, then there is no need for a second round of voting June 5.

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