LIMA, Peru — Peru’s electoral council on Wednesday blocked the candidacy of the main challenger to front-runner Keiko Fujimori in April 10 presidential elections.
The body voided the candidacy of economist Julio Guzmán by a vote of 3-2. It cited technical reasons having to do with the mechanism by which his party chose him as its candidate. Many Peruvians have criticized the ruling as petty.
Guzmán’s spokesman, Daniel Mora, called the ruling “a stain on the electoral process.”
“It shouldn’t be elections officials who decide who becomes president,” he said.
Peru’s institutions are still weak and corruption-riddled two decades after the autocratic rule of Fujimori’s father, Alberto.
Guzmán had surged in opinion polls that show him now preferred by about 17 percent of voters behind 35 percent for Keiko Fujimori, whose father is imprisoned for corruption and authorizing death squads. If that held, he would have faced Keiko Fujimori in a June 5 runoff.
Guzmán said he will appeal the ruling, but experts say a reversal is extremely unlikely.
Last month, the candidate vowed to call a national protest should he be disqualified.