LIMA – Lima’s Special Electoral Jury, or JEE, announced that it has opened a procedure to exclude the presidential candidacy of Keiko Fujimori, the front-runner for the April elections according to voter preference surveys, for supposedly distributing money at an event organized by the “Factor K” group.
Early this week, several petitions for Fujimori’s exclusion were filed because of her alleged handouts of money and gifts through the youth collective “Factor K,” which organizes proselytizing musical activities to win votes for the candidate of the Fuerza Popular party.
Peruvian electoral law bans candidates from handing out money and gifts during their campaigns, and sanctions that infraction with a fine and by removing the offenders from the ballot.
The electoral authorities believe enough evidence exists to open a case to exclude Keiko Fujimori for presumed non-compliance with Article 42 of the Organic Elections Law that bans any payment of money or gifts.
As indicated in the jury’s decision, Fuerza Popular will be granted one working day to present its defense in the case opened against Keiko Fujimori.
The audit by the National Elections Jury (JNE), sent to the JEE, said that Fujimori took part in a dance contest on Feb. 14, 2016, “at which electoral propaganda was seen in the form of posters and T-shirts promoting Fuerza Popular,” the party Fujimori leads.
Previously this week, the JNE rejected a pair of special appeals from presidential candidates Julio Guzman and Cesar Acuña against a decision barring them from the April 10 presidential election.
Acuña, a businessman, was disqualified because his campaign had distributed money to voters, while economist and former Cabinet minister Guzman – who was running second in the polls – was ousted over supposed irregularities in how his party chose its presidential ticket.
Fujimori currently leads in the surveys with 37.6 percent of voter preference, 15.5 percent more than that of Peru’s ex-Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, according to a poll taken by the CPI firm published Friday.