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The BBC's James Reynolds
"This is the most exuberant Mr Toledo and his supporters have been for months"
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Louis Solare, Opposition Party Congressman
"Fujimori is weak in front of the military"
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Monday, 18 September, 2000, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Peru opposition fears military coup
Women demonstrating against President Fujimori
Amid the jubilation, there is uncertainty about the future
Opposition leaders in Peru have expressed concern that the military may stage a coup following President Fujimori's dramatic decision to step down because of a bribery scandal involving a close ally.

Their fears focus on the powerful head of Peru's secret service, Vladimiro Montesinos, the president's right-hand man, who was captured on videotape attempting to bribe an opposition congressman.

The general secretary of the main opposition party, Louis Solare, called for Mr Montesinos' arrest, saying that his close links with the military will leave him potentially extremely powerful once Mr Fujimori steps down.

We have the danger of a military coup d'etat

Louis Solare
While the opposition leader Alejandro Toledo says he wants to form a government of reconciliation and national unity, other would prefer to see Mr Fujimori delay stepping down until Mr Montesinos has been removed from his post.

The BBC correspondent in Lima says that Mr Toledo may face competition for the presidency when elections are finally held.

Coup danger

"Now the challenge to our society is that Mr Montesinos must be out of that service, and must be in detention," said Mr Solare.

Peruvian soldiers
The loyalty of the army is a key factor
"We have the danger of a military coup d' etat," he warned.

"We hope that in the next 24 hours we will look for a sort of agreement or negotiations with the army to relieve our democracy," he added.

According to some reports, Mr Fujimori attempted to dismiss Mr Montesinos over the bribes scandal but was opposed by the Peruvian army.

On Sunday, several senior military officials are said to have refused to attend a meeting called by the president to gauge suppport from the armed forces.


In his address to the nation on Saturday, Mr Fujimori said that he would not stand in the next elections, but gave no date for the polls or whether he would leave office before they are held.

President Alberto Fujimori
President Fujimori left key questions unanswered
The move was sparked by the broadcast of a video on Thursday showing Mr Montesinos apparently attempting to bribe an opposition congressman.

Mr Fuijmori says the secret service is to be disbanded, but was similarly vague about when this will take place.

Opposition members of Congress are calling for proof that this is being done.

During his time as head of the secret service, Mr Montesinos has fostered close ties with the army, and replaced most of its command hierachy with friends and associates from his former military academy.

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17 Sep 00 | Americas
Jubilation at Peru poll decision
17 Sep 00 | Americas
OAS demands action on Peru scandal
29 Jul 00 | Americas
Peru's bubbling unrest
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