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Convicts, corruption suspects up for office in Peru

06 october 2014, 09:57

 Some 21 million Peruvians are voting Sunday in regional and municipal elections, with many candidates accused of corruption, drug-trafficking ties -- and some campaigning from behind bars, AFP reports.

In the northern region of Cajamarca, current president Gregorio Santos is favored to win re-election, despite currently serving a 14-month sentence over corruption.

In the capital, Lima, a conservative former mayor is expected to make a comeback, despite also facing allegations of corruption.

And last month in the coca-producing regions in the south, two mayoral candidates were killed for promising to fight drug trafficking.

"This year, we have many more candidates linked to corruption affairs and with criminal records," Gerardo Tavara, of anti-corruption group Transparencia, told AFP.

"That causes a lot of frustration and widens the gap between the population and politicians," he said.

In the latest polls in Lima, socialist Susana Villaran, 65, the first female mayor of the city, who briefly served as Minister of Women and ran for president, is earning a paltry 13 percent.

Her opponent, conservative candidate Luis Castaneda, 69, who held the post between 2002 and 2010, is well ahead with 54 percent, despite the corruption allegations.

Castaneda enjoys support from the poorest segments of Lima -- who represent a third of the population -- thanks to infrastructure programs he created during his two earlier terms.

Polls close at 4:00 pm (2100 GMT).

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