Alberto Fujimori, Peru's quasi dictator, won last Sunday's elections with a "surprising" 65 percent of the vote, according to international press reports. His main opponent, Javier Perez de Cuellar got only 25 percent while none of the parties won five percent of the vote.
But it shouldn't have been a surprise -- as some news sources say. Peruvian officials said that vote fraud may have played a major role in his so call landslide victory.
A dim glance of what probably was a much bigger fraud picture came to light a few hours before the voting began. Thousands of ballots were already marked for Fujimori. According to the London Financial Times, only in the town of Huanuco, 150 miles from Lima, a "complex fraud plan" was uncovered. It was the forgery of electoral returns for 3,000 voting tables -- more than 500,000 ballots or some five per cent of all Peruvian votes expected to be cast. The falsification, according nine of the other candidates, was in favor of Fujimori.
The finding, which these leaders implied might have just been the tip of a huge fraud iceberg, prompted them to call for the postponement of the elections as they alleged that the elections board wouldn't be able "guarantee that the events at Huanuco are not being repeated at other provincial electoral boards."
Perez de Cuellar stated, at an impromtu press conference on Saturday, that Fujimori's "link to the uncovered fraud is another affirmation of Fujimori's obsession with getting himself reelected at any cost."
But although fraud played a role in his reelection, other factors did too. With all the power in his hands -- in 1992 he abolished Congress and the Constitutional courts -- Fujimori presented himself as the champion of "order, discipline and progress," the president who defeated the terrorist Shining Path guerrilla's, and brought down hyperinflation. His opponents, on the other hand, aside from lacking the resources that the incumbent candidate had, were also scant in charisma, as well in an attractive political and economic agenda. The only renowned candidate was Perez de Cuellar whose resume includes a stint as United Nations Secretary-General.
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