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PERU'S MILITARY SUPPORTS CALL FOR EARLY ELECTIONS

Breaking a five-day silence that had sparked fears of a coup, Peru's powerful military issued a communique Thursday that helped ease political nervousness and steadied financial markets by backing President Alberto Fujimori's call for early elections.

The joint communique from the leaders of the armed forces and the police appealed to Peruvians to remain calm -- but analysts said it did little to allay suspicions that Vladimiro Montesinos, the spy chief who sparked a week of crisis, still was calling the shots.

Fujimori told the nation Saturday he was declaring an early election in which he would not run, would disband the notorious national intelligence service run by Montesinos and would investigate his former security adviser.

Montesinos has not been seen in public since the corruption scandal broke a week ago. No date was announced for an election.

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