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  • Peru's presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza of 'Frente Amplio' party gives a speech during an event to introduce her team, in Lima, March 28, 2016.

    Peru's presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza of 'Frente Amplio' party gives a speech during an event to introduce her team, in Lima, March 28, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 March 2016

Javier del Rio, archbishop of Peru's second city, warns Catholics against voting for candidates who support marriage equality and legal abortion in certain cases.

A Peruvian archbishop told congregants they would be committing "a sin" if they vote for two left-leaning presidential candidates because of their stances on abortion and gay rights.

The comment on Sunday by Javier del Rio, responsible for the archdiocese of Peru's second biggest city Arequipa with more than one million Catholics, was aimed at Veronika Mendoza and Alfredo Barnechea, who were virtually tied for third place in opinion polls two weeks before the April 10 election.

Mendoza and Barnechea both believe abortion should be legal in the case of rape and support civil unions to give same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage.

"Alfredo Barnechea and Veronika Mendoza have openly said that they favor abortion and gay marriage. A Catholic cannot vote for those candidates. It's a sin!" Del Rio told a crowd at Easter Mass.

It was unclear why del Rio did not also single out second-placed Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former World Bank economist who has also proposed civil unions.

Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who many view as a dictator, still leads polls, though she has lost ground recently.

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