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The BBC's Judith Moloney
"Once again they are marching on the streets of Lima"
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BBC South America correspondent James Reynolds
"This controversy is a setback for President Fujimori"
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Friday, 15 September, 2000, 21:43 GMT 22:43 UK
Cash, lies and videotape shock Peru
Opooistion supporters rally in Peru
Political tensions are already running high
Calls for fresh elections and for the president to step down have greeted the latest political scandal in Peru, which points at corruption in the highest levels of government.

Controversial presidential adviser and intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos has offered himself up to the public prosecutor after an opposition politician distributed a video showing Montesinos allegedly bribing a congressman to defect to the government benches.

Preuvian President Alberto Fujimori
Fujimori: under pressure
In the video, Montesinos, whose security services are widely believed to operate outside legal restraints, appears to hand over an envelope with $15,000 in cash to Luis Alberto Kouri, thereby winning his support and giving the government a majority in the chamber.

Newspapers were quick to condemn the action. The pro-opposition daily La Republica declared: "He must go" next to a picture of Montesinos.

Press reaction

The paper gave a transcript of the conversation between Montesinos and Kouri, during which the spy chief allegedly asks the congressman how much he wants for his support.

The respected El Comercio newspaper also gave the story major coverage. "Rumbled", it said, alongside stills taken from the video itself.

The government has paid in dollars for a parliamentary majority which doesn't belong to it

Luis Solari
El Expreso was more measured in its response, but warned it was impossible to underestimate the seriousness of the matter.

In an editorial it said the credibility of parliament and the government rested on how they dealt with the scandal. The pressure was on President Alberto Fujimori to 'clear away the uncertainty'.

Opinion in political circles was generally condemning.

Politicians lash out

'We are now able to cry out to the rest of the world that the government has paid in dollars for a parliamentary majority which doesn't belong to it,' Luis Solari of the main opposition Peru Posible said.

'We have clear proof of the corruption of congressmen,' he said.

Accion Popular congressman Pedro Morales called for charges to be brought against Montesinos and Kouri over the affair.

"It shows us once again that the government's parliamentary majority is phoney,' he said.

The armed forces should withdraw all their support from this government

General Daniel Mora

The man who presented the video material, Congressman Fernando Olivera, went one step further, calling for President Fujimori to step down.

'What we have shown is just an example of the gangsterism at the root of government. We're waiting for Alberto Fujimori to offer his resignation,' he said.

Fujimori's position also came under threat from a retired army general.

'The armed forces should withdraw all their support from this government,' General Daniel Moor said in response to the scandal.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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See also:

29 Jul 00 | Americas
Peru's bubbling unrest
29 Jul 00 | Americas
From carnival to clashes
21 Jul 00 | Americas
Neighbours snub Fujimori
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