Peru Poised for 4th Election in 14 Months

LIMA, Peru, JUNE 1, 2001 ( Peruvians were urged to pray and remain calm before Sunday´s runoff for president, the fourth election in little over a year.

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The last legal surveys, done last Sunday, indicate that Alejandro Toledo is ahead, with 52% to 58.3% of the vote. Former President Alán García garnered 42.7% to 48% backing in the surveys.

«Both candidates must have an attitude of service,» said Bishop Miguel Irizar of Callao, secretary-general of the Peruvian bishops´ conference, in urging the nation to prayer. «The winner, must serve the country with a constructive attitude, and the combined work of all; may the best serve the country.»

An April 2000 election forced then President Alberto Fujimori and Toledo into a runoff, which Fujimori won.

A corruption scandal that included his intelligence adviser, Vladimiro Montesinos, later forced Fujimori from office. He was replaced by Valentín Paniagua, as provisional president.

In new elections last April, Toledo and García finished ahead of six other candidates. The winner of Sunday´s runoff would begin a five-year term on July 28.

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