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Peru Election Protests Continue

June 2, 2000

LIMA, Peru (AP) _ Defeated candidate Alejandro Toledo said Thursday that he will continue pushing to disqualify President Alberto Fujimori’s re-election victory.

``Our goal is a new election in which Fujimori does not participate,″ said Toledo, who boycotted Sunday’s presidential runoff. ``He’s broken all the laws and the constitution.″

Toledo, 54, said nationwide protests would continue, including d march on Saturday in downtown Lima, followed by an all-night vigil in front of the Organization of American States’ local headquarters.

``There’s no need for a second election. This one was an expression of the popular will,″ said Francisco Tudela, Fujimori’s vice-presidential running mate.

The OAS permanent council decided Wednesday in Washington to recommend that the controversy over the fairness of Peru’s presidential runoff be addressed in a meeting of OAS foreign ministers scheduled to begin Sunday in Canada.

But after intense debate, the council ruled against the United States’ suggestion that the issue be taken up in the context of a 1991 resolution designed to deal with threats to democracy. The resolution gives the ministers broad authority to take punitive action in such cases.

Toledo called the OAS council’s decision ``a great victory″ because Peru’s representative at the meeting failed in her attempt ``to discredit the OAS election observer mission″ and ``close the case on Peru.″

OAS election monitors left Peru two days before the vote in protest after Fujimori’s government refused to delay the runoff to ensure the reliability of ballot-counting software.

Other international and local monitors did the same, pronouncing the election and the campaign that led up to it unfairly biased in favor of Fujimori.

With Toledo boycotting the election, Fujimori, 61, won by a wide margin. Final results announced Thursday gave Fujimori 51.2 percent of the vote, compared to 17.7 percent for Toledo, who had asked his supporter to spoil their ballots by marking them with the words ``no to fraud.″

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