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Supporters Register Fujimori for Race

January 7, 2006

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Jailed former President Alberto Fujimori’s supporters registered his candidacy Friday for April’s elections, ignoring a congressional ban on his holding public office and his fight against extradition from Chile.

Fujimori’s daughter Keiko and hundreds of others, carrying banners with Fujimori’s smiling face and the words ``for his honor,″ arrived at the National Election Board to add the former president’s name to the list of candidates registered for the race.

The board, which has until Monday to decide on his bid to run, was widely expected to turn it down.

The registration of his candidacy came hours after the Chilean judge handling Fujimori’s extradition case ordered him to remain under arrest, possibly for months, while the case is processed.

Fujimori is fighting extradition to Peru to face a dozen charges involving human rights abuses and corruption. He arrived unexpectedly in Chile in November following five years in exile in Tokyo, where he flew in 2000 when his decade-long autocratic regime collapsed.

Shortly after he fled to Japan, the homeland of his parents, Peru’s Congress banned Fujimori from holding public office until February 2011.

Fujimori’s supporters argue the ban violated his rights since he has not been found guilty of any crime.

Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal ruled in February that the ban was valid.

Fujimori denies all the accusations against him, calling them an attempt to undercut his run for president.

Despite the charges, many Peruvians remember Fujimori, a university dean before his election, as a leader who ended the economic chaos of the 1980s and defeated leftist guerrillas who bloodied Peru for more than a decade.

``Until Fujimori, Peru was governed by cowards. Fujimori is a real man. We need him because he is the only one who can save Peru,″ said Juana Santillan, a 54-year-old housewife who was among the crowd celebrating the registry of his candidacy.

In recent weeks, Fujimori followers have protested at a half-dozen provincial airports to demand that their leader be allowed to run, but there have been no huge street demonstrations on his behalf.

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