LIMA, Peru -- President Alberto Fujimori's stunning decision to call new elections and end his 10-year authoritarian reign has launched Peru into an uncertain future and left many wondering how its powerful military will react.
Rumors swept Lima on Sunday that Fujimori decided to call new elections because of resistance from top military officers when he said he would "deactivate" the National Intelligence Service, run by Vladimiro Montesinos, his shadowy aide at the center of a bribery scandal.
Montesinos -- once dubbed Fujimori's "Rasputin" -- had built a wide base of support inside the military during his years at the helm of the feared intelligence service.
But Fujimori appeared to be in control of the armed forces Sunday, and military barracks were reported to be calm. Fujimori on Saturday night called for new elections, but said he would not be a candidate.
Many Peruvians, however, still view Montesinos as the more powerful of the two and fear he will resist leaving power along with Fujimori.
Legal experts say the only thing that is certain is that Peru is heading into uncharted political territory.
Fujimori, who has said he will not run in the election, has not groomed an obvious successor, nor has he elaborated on how or when he plans to vacate office.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Alejandro Toledo, who headed back to Peru from Washington Sunday, says he is prepared to govern.
"I want to be president. I will be president. I am prepared to govern," Toledo told reporters during a layover at Miami's international airport. Arriving at Lima's Jorge Chavez International Airport, he told hundreds of cheering supporters that he planned to meet with other opposition leaders to discuss a unified candidacy.
Toledo, who had been Fujimori's main challenger, boycotted May's presidential runoff vote, charging the vote would be rigged. Fujimori won.
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