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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 05:42 GMT 06:42 UK
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Alan Garcia staged a remarkable comeback in Peru's elections
Alan Garcia's presidential victory in Peru has been hailed as a remarkable political comeback, bearing in mind his 1985-90 presidency that drove Peru to economic ruin.

The Peruvians' almost blind faith in the then youthful Mr Garcia earned him the nickname "the president of hope." But, five years later, he left the presidency in disgrace amid 7,000% inflation, food shortages and unchecked guerrilla violence.

Here we offer a guide to some of the most successful comebacks of all time (NB, some of these ended in tears).

Use the form at the bottom of this page to tell us about your favourite "comeback kids".


In the 1980s and 1990s, Marion Barry was a four-term mayor of Washington. The civil rights activist was praised for his efforts to alleviate the political and racial troubles of the capital but criticised for leaving the city's budget in disarray.

He gained notoriety in 1990 when he was secretly filmed by the FBI smoking crack cocaine at the Vista Hotel. After being stripped of his office and serving six months in prison, most people assumed his political career was over. Stunningly, he was re-elected in 1994.


Winston Churchill changed parties twice and spent long periods out of favour, but is still remembered as one of Britain's greatest leaders.

His political career began in 1900 and he ascended the ladder quickly. But as First Lord of the Admiralty, he took much of the blame for the WWI military disaster at Gallipoli in 1915 and resigned from the government. But he was soon back in top government roles, acting as secretary of state for war and, from 1924, as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Out of power from 1929, Churchill lived in the political wilderness throughout the 1930s. But when war came again, his long-ignored warnings about the growing military power of Germany made him the only choice for prime minister.

His national spirit and unflinching determination in the face of the Nazi onslaught won massive support across the country.

Despite being immensely popular as a war leader, Churchill lost the 1945 general election to Labour's Clement Atlee. But, in 1951 at the age of 77, he was once again elected prime minister.


Bill Clinton claimed the moniker of "Comeback Kid" after coming second in a weak field in the New Hampshire primary in 1992. Mr Clinton had proved that he had just eluded political death amid reports of womanising, drug use and draft dodging.

That year, he went on to win the presidency. His term in office was bedevilled by the Whitewater real estate scandal and the Republican's capture of Congress in 1994. He was written off by many political pundits.

However, he once again earned his comeback kid nickname when he became the first Democrat president since Franklin D Roosevelt to be re-elected.

His presidency was finally engulfed in the Lewinsky impeachment scandal and he was shunned by his party. Today, however, Mr Clinton remains an object of fascination in America and worldwide.


In 2004, Sonia Gandhi led India's once great Congress Party out of the political wilderness and back into power, in what was described as one of the biggest political upsets in Indian history.

The party was formed in 1885 and spearheaded the drive to free the nation from British rule. It spawned a dynasty of Nehru-Gandhi politicians and prime ministers. But, in 1989, the party was booted out of government and in the mid-1990s, began to drift without a Gandhi at its helm.

In 2004, the Italian-born Mrs Gandhi agreed to head the party's campaign and, despite being ridiculed by her opponents for her foreign origins, halting Hindi and lack of political experience, she helped reverse its fortunes.


In March 1815, Napoleon staged a dramatic but shortlived comeback.

After escaping from the island of Elba, where he had been sent into exile, he marched on Paris, winning over the troops that had been sent to capture him.

But, his comeback, which became known as the Hundred Days, came to an abrupt end at the Battle of Waterloo in present day Belgium on 18 June, 1815. This was followed by his surrender to the British and his exile to the island of St Helena in the mid Atlantic.


Nixon is widely regarded as staging one of the greatest political comebacks in US history when he became president in 1968.

He had served two terms as vice-president but lost the presidency in 1960 to John F Kennedy by the slenderest of margins. Two years later, he lost the race for Governor of California and famously told reporters: "You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because gentlemen, this is my last press conference."

But in 1968, he was able to shake of the rejection by the voters and his party to secure the White House. He was re-elected in one of the biggest landslide election victories in US political history in 1972.

But, in 1974, he resigned amid the Watergate scandal - something no US president before or since has ever done.


Nigeria's former military leader General Obasanjo staged a political comeback that saw him elected civilian president.

He was the military ruler of Nigeria between 1976 and 1979. He subsequently became a strong opponent of military rule and was imprisoned in 1995 on coup-plotting charges during the rule of General Sani Abacha.

He was released in 1998 and a year later elected civilian president. In 2003, he secured a second term after winning disputed and controversial elections. Only a few months earlier he had become so unpopular within his own party that it looked unlikely that he would receive its presidential nomination. But, he did and he won it handsomely.


Time magazine declared Deng Xiaoping its Man of the Year for 1985 with the headline "The Comeback Comrade".

Deng had a tumultuous career spanning 60 years and countless crisis. He was rehabilitated not once, but twice.

In 1956, he was named one of Chairman Mao's 12 deputy premiers, but fell out of favour 10 years later during the Cultural Revolution. He was attacked as the "Number two Capitalist Roader" .

He was put on public trial and for hours his accusers called him a traitor and shouted "Cook the dog's head in boiling oil." After being paraded through the streets of Beijing in a dunce's cap he was placed under house arrest.

In 1973, Deng made a comeback and was charged with reviving China's sagging economy. He resumed his job as deputy premier, only to face his enemies again. He was purged in 1976 and placed under house arrest.

He slowly returned to the centre of power and by 1978, two years after Mao's death, he was in charge of the country again.

Let us know who are your favourite "comeback kids" by using the form below

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The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Indira Gandhi! Can you forget that great comeback in 1979? After what can only be described as the greatest political disaster in India (the imposition of the hated 'Emergency' from 1975-1977), she lost massively to the Janata Party in the general elections of 1977, when the National mood was "anyone but Indira". And she could yet swing it back in her favour in 1979, when she and her Congress party swept the elections.
Raamesh, Mumbai, India

Winston Churchill is my obvious choice, even though he had led England out of the world war 2 quagmire he lost the 1945 election;which is a huge blow to his political career, coming back as the prime minister requires alot of commitment and stamina.
hamza khan, Lahore, Pakistan

In France, there is an important politician who can be named "comeback kid" : Clemenceau, the man, not the ship... He was elected as a member of the french parliament at the beginning of the third republic since 1875 to 1893. During these years, he was a very strong politician in the left. He wasn't elected at the parlementary elections in 1893. Then he became a journalist for several years, and he published, when he was director of a newspaper named "L'Aurore", the "letter to the president" ("J'accuse"), by the French writer Emile Zola in 1898. At the beginning of the 20th century, he became, for a second time, a member of the french parliament. He was an important minister for foreign affairs ("Entente cordiale" with United Kingdom) and for the police (he created a new police detachment named "the tiger's squad"). He was the prime minister from 1906 to 1909 and from 1916 to 1919, during the first world war. French people named him "the tiger" and "Père la victoire", "father of the victory".
Denis Quinqueton, Paris - France

King Harald Haardraade of Norway: He fled his enemies in Norway at just age 15 with nothing, making his way through the Kievan Rus and into the service of the Byzantine Empire. He battled half way across the Mediterranean for a decade before returning with a huge fortune to Norway, where he eventually became King. A warrior to the end, he died in September 1066 fighting King Harold Godwinson of England, who in turn was defeated by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings a fortnight later.
Thor, Sydney, Australia

Andreas Papandreou returning to power in Greece in 1994 after years and years of manufactured financial scandal accusations, a mockery of a trial, and divorcing his American born wife and marrying a 35 year younger ex-flight attendant. And all that with the second biggest majority since democracy was returned in Greece in 1974.
Van, London

My favourite comeback kid is without doubt Deng Xiaoping, going by the dictatorial, radical and crazy political atmosphere that clouded the "Land of the Dragon" at that time.
Emman Salam, Hamburg, Germany

Viktor Yanukovych, the man pushed aside by the Orange Revolution, seems to be winning hearts and minds of Ukrainian voters. I suppose this guy really deserves to be in the list . For a man who was supposed to be politically dead, Viktor Yanukovych's performance in the recent election is something remarkable.
Dr. V. Balaji Venkatachalam , Dubai , UAE

I think that Pierre Trudeau is definitely my favourite "comeback kid". He was ousted in 1979 and came back in 1980 to prevent Quebec, under Rene Levesque, from leaving the Canadian union and later he also repatriated the constitution from the UK. Everyone, including himself, thought that his political career was over when Joe Clark defeated him in 1979 but as we found out later he came back in style!
Satyajit Dutt, Toronto, Canada

Boris Yeltshin had a great comeback as a result of the coup against Gorbachev, his stand against it, and the fall of the Soviet Union.
Richard Baker, Miyazaki, Japan

Putting Sonia Gandhi in the same league as Napolean, Winston Churchill and Bill Clinton - wow! You guys have really got to do some more homework before you come up with these bizarre lists! Why this preoccupation with Sonia Gandhi? Because she is European? And by the way, she didn't actually "come back" at all. She decided to jump into the foray when she did and that was that. No comeback, no rerun, no sequel. Nada.
A bemused Indian , India (living in Germany)

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