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Lima, March 12 (IANS/EFE) The governing Peruvian Nationalist Party on Friday withdrew from the April 10 elections, asking electoral authorities to remove from the ballot the names of all PNP candidates for national office.
The request, which applies to the party's presidential ticket and congressional list, came from the PNP executive committee, led by first lady Nadine Heredia.
The document was also signed by President Ollanta Humala and several PNP members of Congress.
"I can confirm the presentation of the request... for the removal of the presidential ticket plus all of the parliamentary lists at the national level," PNP lawmaker Daniel Abugattas told RPP Noticias radio.
He described the move as "deplorable" for its effects on PNP congressional hopefuls.
The PNP presidential ticket is headed by Daniel Urresti, with Susana Villaran and Maciste Diaz as candidates for first and second vice president, respectively.
The latest polls show Urresti and his running mates with support from less than 2 percent of likely voters.
PNP congresswoman Ana Maria Solorzano said on Thursday that the party was weighing a possible withdrawal from the elections to avoid losing its official status, a statement that drew a vehement denial from Urresti.
Under Peru's new Law of Political Organisations, a party that wins less than 5 percent of the vote is struck off the list of officially recognised parties.
Villaran, a former Lima mayor, said on Friday on Twitter that she regretted the PNP's decision to renounce "the battle against the Fuji-Alanista mafia," alluding to the presidential campaigns of Keiko Fujimori -- daughter of disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori -- and Alan Garcia, a controversial two-time former head of state.
Urresti, for his part, blasted unnamed "enemies" inside the PNP.
In comments to RPP Noticias, he said no one in the PNP talked to him beforehand about abandoning the campaign and that he was beginning to wonder whether he had been playing "the role of the deceived spouse or that of the last to know".
The surprise withdrawal of the PNP comes two days after the National Elections Board, or JNE, rejected an appeal from the candidate running second in the polls against a lower electoral court's decision to bar him from the race over supposed irregularities in how his party chose its presidential ticket.
Julio Guzman's Todos por el Peru party is asking the JNE to reconsider and plans to seek a court injunction preventing election officials from excluding the candidate.
The latest polls on the presidential contest show Keiko Fujimori in the lead with 34 percent, followed by Guzman with 16.6 percent. (IANS)