Peru Headed to Runoff Election
SAN JUAN – Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of convicted former president Alberto Fujimori, and Pedro Pablo Kuczcynski, former president of the Council of Ministers, seem to be heading to Peru’s runoff election on June 5 after they emerged as the two candidates with the most votes, but not enough to achieve the coveted 50% + 1.
With little less than 18 percent of the vote remaining to be counted, Fujimori obtained 39.5% of the ballots while Kuczcynski got 22.1%. In third place, came Veronika Mendoza with 18.2%.
Puerto Rico’s Peruvian community voted similarly to the people of their nation in that Fujimori and Kuczcynski got most votes, but Kuczcynski leads locally. Celinda Zárate, Peru’s Honorary Consul for Puerto Rico, said 298 Peruvians voted on the island.
“Peruvians are demanding change. This is a great responsibility, which we are going to honor…. Peru wants reconciliation and no more conflict…. We invite all Peruvians on June 5 to opt for change and for the future, because the future of Peru is on the way,” Fujimori said before a crowd of cheering supporters Sunday.
Electoral law in Peru requires presidential candidates a total of 50% plus one vote in the f first ballot to be certified as the new president-elect. If no candidate manages to get the 50 plus one majority, the two candidates with the most votes face each other in a runoff.
But while Fujimori has been the runaway candidate since she announced her intention to run for office. The race now turns uphill for the candidate because her father still is a deeply polarizing figure in Peru.
The senior Fujimori is appreciated by a large segment of Peruvians for having put an end to the “Sendero Luminoso” (Shining Path) guerrilla group and curbing inflation in one of Latin America’s poorest countries. But he is also despised by a large number of Peruvians for his human and civil rights violations and his authorization of military death squads. Fujimori was convicted for crimes against humanity and corruption, and is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence.
In a recent survey, almost half of Peruvians said they would never vote for anyone associated to the former president.
Kuczynski, on the other hand, does not have it easy either. He is considered part of Peru’s “white, more cosmopolitan elite” by a large segment of the Peruvian society. Furthermore, he only managed to win in one of the country’s political districts. The rest were dominated by Fujimori.
However, in Peru’s runoff, unusual coalitions may develop o avoid having one party control Congress or the presidency.
Regardless of who of the two prevails June 5, both candidates are associated with right wing conservative policies. The Peruvian left, much like the rest of Latin America, has been weakened by the region’s economic slow-down.