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Last Updated: Friday, 2 June 2006, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Final rallies for Peru hopefuls
By Hannah Hennessy
BBC News, Lima

Ollanta Humala
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has openly backed Mr Humala
Campaigning has ended ahead of Sunday's presidential elections in Peru.

Former President Alan Garcia and his rival, former army officer Ollanta Humala, have held their final rallies.

The campaign has been marred by bitterness, and the head of the election monitors has warned both men to tone down their rhetoric.

Lloyd Axworthy also blamed external influences for inflaming tensions, a reference to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez who has been accused of meddling.

After weeks of mudslinging from both sides, Peru's two presidential candidates have kept up the war of words to the very end.

Attacks

Closing their campaigns in front of thousands of their supporters, they used their final rallies to attack their rivals.

Mr Garcia knows he is favourite to win the election but he was still quick to criticise Mr Humala.

Alan Garcia
Mr Garcia is ahead in the opinion polls
The ex-president said Sunday's vote would put an end to a form of right-wing military politics that threatened the democracy and freedom of all Peruvians.

As he spoke, the streets of Lima were packed with thousands of his supporters who set off fireworks and streamers in the Peruvian national colours of red and white, cheering and waving flags and banners saying "Alan for president".

Hundreds of miles away in the former Inca capital of Cusco, men and women dressed in red and white braved the cold mountain air to support Mr Humala.

He had chosen to hold his final rally outside of Lima, drawing on the base of support he has in rural areas, where many of Peru's poorest people live.

As his supporters danced to traditional Pan pipe music, Mr Humala told them it was time to throw away the climate of fear that prevented change in Peru.

He said Sunday would bring an end to the kind of neo-liberal politics that have helped the economy grow but failed to help the millions of Peruvians who live below the poverty line.


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