LIMA, April 25 (Reuters) - Kenji Fujimori, the youngest son of imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori, said on Monday that he will run for president in 2021 if his sister Keiko Fujimori does not win a tight run-off election on June 5.
The comment contradicted Keiko Fujimori’s pledge that no Fujimori would seek the presidency in the next election - part of her ongoing effort to shore up her democratic credentials with voters wary of a return to the authoritarian rule of her father, Alberto Fujimori.
“The decision is mine,” Kenji Fujimori said on Twitter. “Only in the event that Keiko does not win the presidency, I will run in 2021.”
Kenji Fujimori, 35, belongs to his sister’s center-right party Fuerza Popular and was re-elected as a lawmaker in Peru’s single-chamber Congress with more votes than any other candidate.
Peruvian law bars family members of presidents from immediately succeeding them. Patriarch Alberto Fujimori is now serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption during his 1990-2000 government.
“In 2021, there will be no (presidential) candidate with the Fujimori surname,” Keiko Fujimori said in a televised interview with the show Panorama on Sunday.
Keiko Fujimori, a 40-year-old former congresswoman, won the biggest share of votes in the April 10 first-round presidential election but has been seen as tied or slightly behind centrist economist Pedro Pablo Kucyznski in a June 5 run-off, according to recent polls.
She is popular in poor and rural districts where her father is celebrated for building schools and cracking down on Shining Path guerrillas, although she faces stiff opposition from others who consider him a corrupt dictator.
Kucyznski has called on Peruvians to vote for him instead of Keiko Fujimori to avoid a “dynasty” in the Andean country, a major exporter of copper, gold and silver. (Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by David Gregorio)