Clinton, Britney Figure in Peru Election Process

President Clinton and pop idol Britney Spears are among a host of false names appearing on lists meant to register would-be Peruvian presidential candidates for this year’s election, a local daily reported.

Election officials sifting through thousands of signatures on the registers found Peruvians had penned names such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian soccer legend Pele, OJO newspaper reported Sunday.

Peru’s presidential hopefuls, who want to run in the April 8 election, have been rushing to collect the 120,000 signatures each needs to officially register their candidacy before a deadline today.

Traditionally, politicians try to gather many more names than the required number because in most elections about half of all signatures turn out to be forgeries or discounted due to irregularities.

Catching John Doe

“What happens is that citizens are asked to sign up and they put down a false name, surname and signature,” Medardo Sanchez, spokesman for RENIEC, the organization which verifies signatures, told OJO.

With thousands of false names being discovered every election year, few Peruvians blame the candidates and believe responsibility lies with the signatories in this Andean nation of 26 million people.

But ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s political party was accused last year of deliberately forging over a million signatures to register his candidacy for a vote in which he eventually won a third term.

This year’s elections are being held after Fujimori was ousted amid corruption scandals.