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The BBC's James Reynolds in Lima
"Mr Toledo said the president was not in charge"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 21:09 GMT 22:09 UK
US seeks 'real democracy' in Peru
Opposition demonstration in Lima
Protest: "The people want Montesinos arrested and sentenced"
The United States says it wants to see a return to real democracy in Peru, following President Alberto Fujimori's announcement of new elections.

"We want to see real democratic processes return to Peru," said US National Security Council spokesman PJ Crowley.

"Provided that there is a democratic transition, who leads Peru is a matter for the Peru people to decide."

Vladimiro Montesinos
Mr Montesinos has been President Fujimori's right-hand man
A scandal surrounding Mr Fujimori's intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, has plunged Peru into political uncertainty and fuelled fears of a military coup.

Mr Fujimori insisted on Tuesday that the country was stable and that he would remain in power until July 2001.

But he gave no date for the fresh elections which he announced shortly after the release of a videotape allegedly showing Mr Montesinos handing over a $15,000 bribe to a member of the opposition.

Mr Fujimori has said he will not run in the early elections. But he has hinted that he may run for office again in 2006. His re-election in May was tainted by accusations of fraud.

Opposition demands

His bitter rival, opposition leader Alejandro Toledo, accused the president of not being in control of the situation, and urged him publicly to sack Mr Montesinos.

We want to see all elements in Peru work in a peaceful and transparent way through this transition

US National Security Council spokesman

He said power was being shared between Mr Fujimori, the armed forces chiefs and Mr Montesinos, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Mr Toledo said Mr Fujimori was unable to oust the powerful intelligence chief.

He demanded that Mr Montesinos be arrested immediately and that a transitional administration be set up. He also called for fresh elections to be held within four months.

Boycott threat

The opposition has threatened to boycott parliament until Mr Montesinos is brought to justice. He currently heads the powerful National Intelligence Service, which Mr Fujimori announced was to be disbanded.

Mr Fujimori has dismissed calls for the arrest of Mr Montesinos, saying it is a matter for the courts.

Mr Crowley said the US administration supported Mr Fujimori's call for new elections.

"We clearly had questions about May's elections - the process was flawed," he said. "We want to see all elements in Peru work in a peaceful and transparent way through this transition."

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See also:

20 Sep 00 | Americas
Fujimori defends spy chief
20 Sep 00 | Media reports
Peru press takes sides
18 Sep 00 | Americas
Peru opposition fears military coup
17 Sep 00 | Americas
Jubilation at Peru poll decision
17 Sep 00 | Americas
OAS demands action on Peru scandal
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