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Would Peru lawmaker Keiko Fujimori free her jailed dad?

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LIMA, PERU – Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori, came within an inch of admitting Wednesday that she would pardon her jailed father if she is elected president in 2011.

Prodded repeatedly during a meeting with group of American journalists visiting Peru, she said she did not want to comment until her father’s bid to appeal his 25-year sentence for ordering kidnappings and killings during his tenure in the 1990s is finished. But she added twice that she hopes Mr. Fujimori “will not need to be pardoned.”

“I believe my father was innocent,” said the 34-year-old congresswoman and mother of two, exuding a calm confidence and quiet warmth. “The majority of Peruvians think my father was the best president.”

Then she reminded the group of editors that Peru’s president has the power to pardon anyone.

Although she dismissed any suggestion that her father would exert undue influence during a Keiko presidency – “I will run the country, not my father” – she made no effort to deviate from any of his policies.

Instead she doubled down on the Fujimori brand name, banking on the fact that her father’s conservative approach was – and still is – widely popular in the business community and among significant portions of Peru’s poorest people.

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