Head Of Peruvian Election Board Shot
LIMA, Peru (AP) _ The president of Peru’s National Election Board was shot several times in the face Wednesday as he rode to his office, and the government blamed leftist guerrillas for the ambush.
Authorities said Domingo Garcia Rada, 72, underwent emergency surgery at the police hospital to remove bullets lodged in his brain and face. He was listed in critical condition.
Dr. Esteban Rocca, who performed the surgery, said Garcia Rada had ″withstood well″ the 4-hour operation.
The election board has been conducting a count of the April 14 presidential election. The final results were expected to be announced by the end of the month.
Unofficial results indicate that Alan Garcia, the 35-year old candidate of the social democratic Aprista Party, won a large plurality. He would be an overwhelming favorite if, falling short of a majority, he competes in a runoff against the runner-up.
Garcia Rada had already announced his office was actively preparing the second round of voting, which would pit Garcia against Lima’s Marxist mayor, Alfonso Barrantes Lingan, 58, who placed second in the unofficial results.
President Fernando Belaunde Terry, who rushed to the hospital after learning of the attack on Garcia Rada, told reporters the shooting would not affect the ″punctual change of power″ scheduled for July 28.
Interior Minister Oscar Brush Noel blamed the Maoist guerrilla organization - Shining Path - for the attack. He said police squads aided by air force helicopters were searching for Garcia’s assailants.
The Shining Path had denounced the election as a ″bourgeois tool″ and threatened to disrupt it.The guerrillas’ insurgency, centered in Peru’s Andean provinces, has taken nearly 5,000 lives since May 1980.
Police reported they arrested one man suspected of being involved in the shooting, and Lima radio stations reported one assailant was taken to the police hospital with bullet wounds.
The radio stations said Garcia Rada’s car was intercepted about five blocks from his home in suburban San Isidro by gunmen armed with machine guns and explosives.
The reports said the men fired on the car, hitting Garcia Rada some 20 times and seriously injuring his chauffeur, Segundo Narro. A policeman was slightly wounded, according to the reports.