Peru's Presidential Elections

In less than three weeks, Peru will face the second round of their Presidential elections and be forced to choose between two rather unappealing candidates.

The first round of elections were held on April 10th. The greatest percentage of votes were split between the top five candidates and now the country is moving to a second round in June. The two remaining candidates are Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori.

As the election results came in on April 10th, Alvaro kept telling me, "This is the worst possible outcome for the second round. We are now choosing between bad and worse." News sources from around the world were commenting on the difficult choice ahead for Peruvians.

Ollanta Humala ran for President in 2006 but lost to now President Alan Garcia. He's a former military man with no government experience and connections to Hugo Chavez. He's popular in the poor provinces of Peru because he represents a radical change. His main platform is that though Peru has experienced significant economic growth in the past several years, the boom hasn't reached the provinces. He is promising to channel economic growth to the outskirts of Peru. This is a worthy and just platform, but the rest of his government plan includes, among other things, the nationalization of all banking and retirement accounts and putting a stop to Peru's exports.

Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. Alberto took over the country in 1990 when Peru was being tormented by a terrorist group and battered by massive inflation. In his term he was able to calm inflation, introduce a new currency and put an end to the terrorism. But his presidency wasn't without scandal. He also forcefully changed the Constitution and is currently serving 25 years in prison on charges of human rights violations. Fujimori didn't personally commit these crimes, but rather a separate group of government employees were found responsible. Peruvian opinions of Fujimori fall into one of two extremes. Those who praise his accomplishments and believe he had no knowledge of the crimes and those who claim that as President, there is no way he could have not been aware of what was happening in his cabinet.

It's making for interesting political debates as Peruvians from every background, struggle to choose their next leader. There are those who have chosen to strongly back one candidate, however, most of those that I have talked to have decided to simply choose, "the one that's not as bad".

1 comment:

Vincent said...

Hi there Lady in Lima:
these rather unappealing candidates are unappealing to whom? The answer is primarily,though not exclusively, the same elites who have ruled Peru since its independence and who have perpetuated this countries poverty for centuries. Keiko or Humala can't do much worse than their predecessors, those same elites who, all to often, enjoy their creature comforts while they live secluded behind barbed wire and electrified fences.

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