|President of Popular Force|
|Assumed office |
22 July 2009
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Member of Congress|
26 July 2006 – 26 July 2011
|First Lady of Peru|
23 August 1994 – 22 November 2000
|Preceded by||Susana Higuchi|
|Succeeded by||Nilda Jara de Paniagua|
Keiko Sofía Fujimori Higuchi
25 May 1975
|Political party||Popular Force (2010–present)|
|Alliance for the Future (2006–2010)|
|Relatives||Kenji Fujimori (brother)|
Keiko Sofía Fujimori Higuchi (Spanish: [ˈkejko soˈfi.a fuxiˈmoɾi iˈɣutʃi]; Japanese: [keːko ɸɯʑimoɾi]; born 25 May 1975) (also known by the pseudoyms Señora K (Mrs. K) and Ruth) is a Peruvian politician. She is the daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and Susana Higuchi. Following her parents' divorce, she served as First Lady from 1994 to 2000, becoming the youngest First Lady in the history of the Americas.[better source needed] In 2006, she was elected to the Congress of Peru. Fujimori leads the right-wing party Fuerza Popular and was their presidential candidate in the 2011 election runoff and the 2016 election runoff, losing both times, the 2016 election being a very close call, with the final count difference of less than 0.25%.
Fujimori was allegedly involved in the Odebrecht scandal and was arrested in Peru on 10 October 2018. Conditionally released in April 2020, she is currently awaiting trial on charges of money laundering, obstruction of justice, and other crimes.
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Keiko Fujimori graduated from the Peruvian Catholic School Colegio Sagrados Corazones Recoleta (Recoleta Academy of the Sacred Hearts) in 1992; her siblings Kenji, Hiro and Sachi also studied at Recoleta. The following year, she travelled to the United States to pursue a bachelor's degree in Business Administration. She began her studies at Stony Brook University, and graduated in 1997 from Boston University with a business degree. She received her M.B.A. from Columbia Business School in 2008.
In August 1994, after the divorce of her parents, Keiko was appointed First Lady of Peru. At 19 years of age and still a student, from April 1994 to November 2000, she assumed the administration of Fundación por los Niños del Perú (Foundation for the Children of Peru), and created Fundación Peruana Cardioinfantil (Peruvian Foundation for Infant Cardiology), which she presided over from 1996 to 2006, and dedicated her activities to help low-income families nationwide.[clarification needed] She summoned the Peruvian business community to contribute to her social projects.[clarification needed]
Her mother, Susana Higuchi, said that she was subjected to repeated efforts to silence her accusations of corruption involving her former husband, President Fujimori, and his close relatives with donations from Japan. In 2001, Higuchi told investigators probing the corruption of the Fujimori years that she had been tortured "five hundred times" by the intelligence services of the Peruvian Army. and told the press that President Fujimori had ordered for her to be killed, to which the president's right hand, Vladimiro Montesinos had refused on the ground of being a devout Catholic. Her father denied that Higuchi had been tortured. He said the scars on her back and neck were not from torture but from a traditional Japanese herbal treatment called moxibustion.
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Keiko Fujimori participated in several international assemblies, such as the Summit of Spouses of Heads of States and Government of the Americas in Canada and Chile, and the Cumbre Regional para la Infancia (Regional Summit for Infancy) in Colombia.
Keiko stayed in Peru until 2004 when she pursued an MBA at Columbia Business School. In 2004, Fujimori married Mark Villanella, a United States citizen who also acquired Peruvian citizenship in 2009. In 2005, Keiko interrupted her studies and returned to Peru after an extradition process was initiated on her father. She became the leader of the Fujimorista Political Group and announced her father's candidacy in the April 2006 Peruvian presidential election, though he was forbidden to participate in any political activity until 2011 under a congressional ban. In April 2006, while her father was detained in neighboring Chile, Fujimori was elected to the Peruvian Congress with more votes than any winning candidate. She served as a Member of the National Congress from 28 July 2006 – 28 July 2011 for Lima.
As a congresswoman and leader of her political party, Fujimori defended the reforms executed by her father during the 1990s. She has led the opposition to the government of Alan García. She authored a law that restricts penitentiary benefits for those who commit serious offenses, and another law that obligates judges to give the highest sanctions to repeat offenders. Similarly, she passed a law that reduces the jail benefits to those who are protected under the "sincere confession"[clarification needed] provision. Along with the Fujimorista Congress members, she worked on a project law in which the death penalty would also be applicable to some of the most severe crimes.
2011 presidential elections
During 2009, Keiko Fujimori began the collection of signatures in order to create her own political party, Fuerza 2011. In March 2010, the National Jury of Elections formally recognized the political party after more than one million signatures were collected, a number that surpassed the requirement by 854,000 signatures. Opinion polls granted her high possibilities to win the presidential elections in 2011; she was leading in presidential election polls as of July 2010.
As of July 2010, Fujimori was noncommittal about whether she would pardon her father.
In the first round of the 2011 presidential elections, Fujimori received 23.551% of the votes, second only to Ollanta Humala, who received 31.699% of the votes. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was third with 18.512%. In the June 5 runoff, she lost to Humala, 51.34% to 48.66%.
2016 presidential elections
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She is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori who is in jail for crimes against humanity. Most recently, accusations have surfaced of connections between drug trafficking and Congressman Joaquín Ramírez, Secretary General of Fuerza Popular, the political party under which Keiko Fujimori is running for president. On Sunday May 15, 2016, Peruvian news program Cuarto Poder broadcast a report conducted with Univisión that revealed Ramírez is being investigated by the DEA. The Congressman is being investigated for money laundering, a crime for which he is also under investigation in Peru. Fujimori is running for president in the middle of a controversial election. Two opponents were withdrawn from the electoral race prior to first round voting: one, and also her main rival, was disqualified over a technical error in the registration of his candidacy; the second opponent broke a new electoral law against vote-buying by handing out money to voters. Fujimori was accused of breaking the law mentioned, but was acquitted according to the statement issued from JEE: “The candidate has not engaged in the prohibited activities of offering or giving money or gifts in the aim of obtaining votes.”
Distancing herself from the controversial shadow of her father, she vowed to not follow his path, that she would provide reparations to women who were allegedly sterilized under her father and that she would not pardon him for his crimes, signing a document during a debate symbolizing her promise. She also stated that she would not run for another election if she won the presidency.
Polls indicate that she placed first in the first round of voting on April 10, garnering approximately 40% of the vote over opponents Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Verónika Mendoza who each received approximately 20%. In a very contested election, according to exit polls Fujimori trailed Pedro Pablo Kuczynski as ballots were counted late into the evening on June 5, 2016. Kuczynski won by a narrow margin of less than half a percentage point, and was sworn in as President on July 28.
Fujimori's Popular Force party, which held a majority within the Congress of the Republic of Peru until its dissolution in 2019, has little public support in Peru. In early 2018, Fujimori saw approval rating of about 30%. By July 2018, public approval dropped to 14% and disapprobation highly increased to more than 88% in August 2018 after it was proved she was also part of the Odebrecht scandal.
As of May 2016, reports assert that Fujimori's MBA title and master thesis records are nonexistent in official data of SUNEDU, the chief supervising unit for academic degrees in Peru, and of Columbia University.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) disclosed, through the Panama Papers, that Keiko Fujimori had two supporters and their families who were involved with the Mossack Fonseca firm. Jorge Yoshiyama, who was named in the scandal, denied his involvement.
Money laundering allegations
Media reports in 2016 indicated that a key secretary-general of Fujimori, Joaquin Ramirez, was under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for alleged money laundering. Keiko Fujimori was investigated for bribery during the Odebrecht scandal in the event her party would seize power. Marcelo Odebrecht admitted his role in her presidential campaign in 2016, among many other politicians from competitor parties, but Fujimori denied the allegations made against her. According to investigators, Fujimori was allegedly paid $1.2 million USD by Odebrecht in 2011 to support her in the 2011 Peruvian general election.
On 10 October 2018, Fujimori was detained by police as part of an investigation surrounding the Odebrecht scandal and money laundering allegations that involved her 2011 presidential campaign. She was later released from detention on 17 October 2018 following an appeal. After seven days of arguments by Prosecutor José Domingo Pérez and Keiko Fujimori's defense team, Judge Richard Concepción Carhuancho sentenced Fujimori to 36 months of pretrial detention, as part of an investigation of her alleged role as leader of a criminal organization within her political party, Fuerza Popular, and money laundering allegations of at least one million dollars involving Odebrecht, surrounding her 2011 presidential campaign.
After spending thirteen months in prison, Fujimori was temporarily released from pretrial detention in November 2019 during an appeal process. On 28 January 2020, she returned to Santa Mónica Prison after being sentenced to an additional fifteen months in pretrial detention. On April 30, 2020, a Peruvian appeals court overturned her 15-month detention order and granted her a conditional release from prison.
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After previously vowing to pardon her father if elected, she now says she will wait for the Constitutional Court to rule on an appeal before deciding.
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- Biography in-depth by CIDOB Foundation (in Spanish)
- Analysis of Keiko Fujimori by Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
| First Lady of Peru
Nilda Jara de Paniagua
|Party political offices|
|New office|| President of the Popular Force