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Peru Prepares for the 2011 Presidential Elections

With the country's presidential candidates celebrating their last campaign meetings [es] on April 7, 2011, the Peruvian electoral process entered into its final resting state until this Sunday, April 10, when more than 17 million Peruvians [es] will elect their president for 2011-2016, along with 130 congress members (members of Parliament).

According to recent surveys taken up until last week, the current legislation anticipated that only five of the eleven presidential candidates [es] had the possibility of passing to the second round or ballot: ex-militarist Ollanta Humala Tasso (Gana Perú), Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza 2011), daughter of ex-President Alberto Fujimori, Pedro Pablo Kuzcinsky (Alianza Por El Gran Cambio [es]), ex-Minister of the Economy in the government, along with the option of Alejandro Toledo (Perú Posible), and ex-Mayor of Lima, Luis Castañeda Lossio (Solidaridad Nacional).

President of the Congress of Peru, César Zumaeta Flores, voting in the previous municipal elections. Image by Flickr user Congreso de la República (CC BY 2.0).

President of the Congress of Peru, César Zumaeta Flores, voting in the previous municipal elections. Image by Flickr user Congreso de la República (CC BY 2.0).

The campaign has been long, multifarious, controversial and very harshly disputed. This week, in accordance with the latest surveys spread abroad (Peruvian law prohibits publishing them [es] in the local media the week before the elections), the two leading candidates would be Ollanta Humala (31.9%) and Keiko Fujimori (22.3%), numbers that, according to Reuters, come from the Peruvian poll, Datum.

Polls from CPI and Ipsos Apoyo, cited the day before by the same agency, gave 28% to Humala and 21.4% to Fujimori.

In this campaign, the preference percentages have come close to a technical tie at times, shown in a marked auto-generated chart/dispersion of votes, a phenomenon that an Ipsos Apoyo study has interpreted statistically and blog GranComboClub [es] cites:

El votante medio está al centro. A la derecha hay hartos, pero a la izquierda sólo hay uno: (…) No es de sorprender que Humala acabe de puntero y los otros acaben corriendo unas “elecciones primarias” a ver quién compite con Humala.

The average voter is in the center. There are many on the right, but on the left there is only one: (…) It is not surprising that Humala is in the lead and the others end up running in “primary elections” to see who will compete with Humala.

Ipsos Apoyo poll. Published in the blog GranComboClub.

Ewing Jesús Falla Arévalo explains his point of view in his blog, NauseaPolitica [es]:

Al parecer Humala esta focalizando de una forma alarmante el descontento de la población que se siente excluida frente a un sistema que beneficia a unos pocos en desmedro de miles de ciudadanos. Lo más llamativo viene a ser la incapacidad de los demás candidatos para capitalizar este descontento y ofrecer alternativas que permitan a estos peruanos hacer escuchar su voz.

It appears as though Humala is focusing, in an alarming way, on the discontent of the public that feels excluded in front of a system that benefits few at the expense of thousands of citizens. The most striking thing is the rest of the candidates’ inability to capitalize on this discontent and offer alternatives that allow these Peruvians to have their voices heard.

Blog Artureando [es] comments:

Se intenta “alertar” a los electores de la inconveniencia de votar por Ollanta para los intereses del país y de todos los peruanos porque nos haría retroceder  a años de  barbarie y de dictadura al estilo de Chávez en Venezuela, de Castro en Cuba, etc. Sin embargo, es evidente que es una campaña que no está dando resultados.

There is an attempt to “alert” the voters of the inconvenience of voting for Ollanta in the interest of the country and of all Peruvians because it would make us regress to the years of barbarity and dictatorship in the style of Chávez in Venezuela, Castro in Cuba, etc. Nevertheless, it is evident that such a campaign is not bringing about any results.

Blog Profesor Mario Ceroni [es] expresses the unease of the Peruvians that do not feel comfortable voting for any of these five candidates:

Voto en blanco ya que no quiero tener cargo de conciencia de haber elegido a un incompetente, irresponsable, mentiroso (…) El voto por el menos malo es uno de los argumentos que, a primera vista, tiene sentido pero tras un profundo análisis no es razonable. Uno tiene tres opciones; votar por alguien, votar en blanco y votar viciado si desconfía de los miembros de mesa y personeros. Todas son opciones validas. Si no crees en ningún candidato ¿por qué otros te van a obligar a votar por uno de ellos?

I vote none of the above, as I do not want to have the burden on my conscience of having chosen someone who is incompetent, irresponsible, [and] a liar (…) The vote for the lesser of two evils is one of those arguments that at first glance makes sense, but, following a thorough analysis, is not reasonable. You have three options; voting for someone, voting none of the above and a flawed vote if you don't trust the board members and spokespeople. All are valid options. If you don't believe in any candidate, why would others obligate you to vote for one of them?

Blog Apuntes Peruanos [es] reminds us that Peruvians are electing not only the president, but congress members as well:

EL DEBATE [de los candidatos] sin embargo no aclara las cosas en donde deberían estar todos los ojos : en la representación congresal. Las influencias y los intereses de varios niveles se plasman ahí.

THE DEBATE [of the presidential candidates] nonetheless does not clarify the things on which our eyes should be focused: congressional representation. Various levels of influence and interests are expressed there.

On the other hand, this electoral campaign has been characterized by the preeminence of personal marketing over the presentation of proposals, as a resource for differentiating oneself from the rest of the contenders. As such, the five primary candidates have turned to the diverse social networks as an additional platform to dispute the voters’ preferences. This has originated heated posts, debates and confrontations among Peruvian internet users, who continue disputing the convenience or inconvenience (and speculating the possible positive and negative consequences) of one or another elected candidate.

Eddy Higa [es] expresses the disenchantment and skepticism of many Peruvians:

Keiko, Toledo, Humala, Ppk……. harto de los politicos ladrones de siempre, por que no juntaron el dinero que utilizaron en sus campañas para darselos a los pobres??? minimo entre los 5 mas populares 40 millones de soles, es que tanto piensan robar cuando salgan elegidos?? su ptm!!! politicos de m***a……

Keiko, Toledo, Humala, Ppk……. I'm sick of all of these robber politicians, why don't they bring together all of the money they used in their campaigns and give it to the poor??? There are at least 40 million soles between the five most popular [candidates], do they plan on robbing us of that much once they're elected?? motherf******!!!! sh**** politicians……

Teresa Romero (@tedicha) [es] affirms:

Con Humala tendremos un gobierno como el de Chávez: abuso de poder, mordaza, saqueo, pobreza. ¡¡CAE, CAE HUMALA!! ¡¡CAE, CAE HUMALA!!

With Humala we'll have a government like that of Chávez: abuse of power, gags, plunder, poverty. DOWN, DOWN WITH HUMALA!! DOWN, DOWN WITH HUMALA!!

@Giselle More [es] agrees:

Creo q debería existir un fuerte contra keiko-humala… Todos contra dictaduras!

I think there should be a strong opposition to keiko-humala… Everyone against dictatorships!

Manuel Pérez (@m_perezg) [es] expresses his opinion that,

Si gana Humala o Keiko el Perú se dividirá: Todos perderemos. El conflicto social escalará inevitablemente.

If Humala or Keiko wins, Peru will be divided: Everyone will lose. The social conflict will inevitably escalate.

But Humala and Fujimori have supporters; although these are not viewed often in the social networks, it is not in vain that their candidates are first in the polls. Carlos Puelles (@Barnicito) [es] tweets:

Bueno, zafo a clases, regreso temprano para seguir cagandome de risa de como se orinan de miedo con Humala :D

Alright, done with class, I've returned early to continue dying of laughter of how everyone is pissing themselves from fear of Humala :D

Others go even further to express their support for Humala, as Manuel Santillana (@nocorruptosdm) [es], and Carlos A. Quiroz (@_Peruanista) shows optimism before Humala's rise in polls:

Si “encuestadoras” de Lima le dan 32% a #Ollanta Humala, considero MUY probable que este mas arriba #eleccionesPeru en 1ra vuelta! #GanaPeru

If Lima's “polls” give 32% to #Ollanta Humala, I consider it VERY probable that he will be higher in the first round of #Peru elections! #GanaPeru

Carlos (@Carlosgr1) [es] affirms:

Si gana Toledo o PPK es lo mismo y si gana Keiko también. Si gana Castañeda se cambiará algo, y si gana Humala sí habrá un cambio

If Toledo, PPK or Keiko win, everything stays the same. If Castañeda wins, something will change, and if Humala wins, there will definitely be a change.

But for Kuczynski's supporters, known as “PPK,” his candidacy continues to be disputed. Giovanni Vítor [es] declares:

Si Toledo no ha sido capaz de sostener su caida de casi 30% a 15% hoy, creen que será capaz de derrotar a Humala en una segunda vuelta? No! por eso hay que votar seguro y hacerlo por PPK! El ha sido capaz de subir de 5% a casi 20% en menos de 3 meses y posicionarse entre el 2do y 3er lugar… y sigue subiendo! Sube Sube PPK!

If Toledo has not been able to sustain his fall from almost 30% to 15% today, do you think he'll be able to destroy Humala in the second round?  No!  That's why you should vote securely and do it for PPK! He has been able to rise from 5% to almost 20% in less than 3 months and position himself between 2nd and 3rd place… and he continues to rise! Rise, Rise PPK!

Reiner Silva (@_reiner_) [es] comments:

Votemos por PPK!! A Toledo se le volteo la torta, se va a 5to lugar :) PPK tienes que ser presidente!!

Let's vote for PPK!! The tables have turned on Toledo, he's going to 5th place :) PPK, you have to be president!!

But Toledo's supporters, like Chalres Rodriguez () [es] have not thrown in the towel just yet:

@ muy cierto!!! :) aseguremos con Toledo, como van las cosas, es lo más sensato :)
Very true, @!!! :) we're sure that with Toledo, as things are going, it's the most sensible vote :)

And with their desire to stay informed, Peruvians have found ingenious ways of making fun of the ban on publishing or spreading polls, including on social networks, using Twitter primarily [es]; one of the ways is posting messages references the candidates as though they were menu dishes, and alluding to their ethnic origins, as Patricia Lúcar (@patricialucar) does, for example:

No siempre lo + caro es mejor> Rancho [refrigerio que se le da en los cuarteles a la tropa: Humala]: S/.28 (.10 US$), Minpao [una especie de pan al vapor que venden en restaurantes chinos: Keiko]:S/.21 (.08 US$), Combo KFC [Kuzcinsky]: S/.18 (.06 US$), Quinua [Toledo]: S/.18 (.06 US$), Pan con soledad [o pan solo: Castañeda]: S/.10 (.04 US$) Encuesta A Pollo c/Papas

The most expensive thing is not always the best> Rancho [light refreshments served in an army barracks: Humala]: S/.28 (.10 USD), Minpao [a type of steamed bread that they sell in Chinese restaurants: Keiko]: S/.21 (.08 USD), KFC Combo [Kuczynski]: S/.18 (.06 USD), Quinoa [Toledo]: S/.18 (.06 USD), Pan con soledad [or just a piece of bread Castañeda]: S/.10 (.04 USD) Poll for Chicken with Potatoes.

Peruvians wait the true exit poll this Sunday, April 10, whose results, whatever they may be, undoubtedly will not leave any citizen feeling indifferent.

6 comments

  • dan

    por fin se viene el gran cambio que el peru necesita urgentemente

  • Carlos

    Humana and Fujimori… this is a caos! this is almost worst than Japan Earthquake… Democracy in danger. Poor country… poor my country…

  • erick d

    Humala must not win, he’s just a psychopath who adores Iran,Venezuela’s dreaded regimes and dangerously wants to turn Peru into a satellite of them.

  • erick d

    One more thing, Peru has experienced terrorist attacks,higher inflationary prices and political instability decades ago. If Humala,Ollanta wants to be the president, he’s going to release every SL/MRTA member and pardon it. A military coup should be the only way to stop this madman

  • […] Johnson in Mexico Unmasked and Richard Grabman in The Mex Files look at Peru's elections on Sunday, April 10 and compare them to the political climate in Mexico as the country prepares for the 2012 […]

  • […] day after celebrating the elections in Peru on April 10, the results were clear: there will be a second round, and as of writing this post, in accordance […]

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