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Peru: Reactions Following the First 2011 Electoral Round

elecciones peru 2011

Voter in the center of Peruvian voting process. (Photo: OAS Electoral Observation Mission in Peru, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The 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 with the official numbers from the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), with 72.373% [es] of the electoral tickets counted, Keiko Fujimori extends her advantage over Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and will be the rival to Ollanta Humalla, who currently maintains first place with 29.02% of the votes.

Taking into account that the ONPE's report is one of counted votes, not an accurate representation, it remains clear that as the electoral votes that continue arriving from distinct corners of the country proceed to add up, the results for Fujimori and Kuczynski can cross one another's path temporarily [es]; but as the total number of counted votes is determined, it will be unlikely that the expressed tendency in the exit polls [es] (Ollanta Humala in first place, Keiko Fujimori in second, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in third) will change substantially.

Bloggers, candidates, and analysts coincide that this result is principally “an angry vote” [es], a vote of punishment for the economic policies managed by the governments in recent years, that have fomented growth and created a new prosperity that curiously does not sit equally with everyone, but rather has further accentuated the gap between the extremes on the socioeconomic scale.

Roger Merino explains it clearly in his blog Comparación Jurídica y Análisis Crítico [es]:

…como hace 5 años, “los otros” han vuelto a ganar categóricamente en primera vuelta. Esos otros, gente que trabaja horas de horas en el campo, los obreros de las fábricas, los pobres de la sierra rural y de la Amazonía, los pobres limeños que viven en los pueblos jóvenes (algunos de los cuales ya no son considerados como tales porque según INEI [la agencia nacional de estadística] ya no ganan 257 soles mensuales, sino 280!), esa gente que creemos que no existe porque se abrió por ahí un nuevo centro comercial o se construyó un edificio, esa gente tiene voz y tiene voto. Cada cinco años recién sentimos su presencia y tenemos la desfachatez de sorprendernos por los resultados.(…) Tratemos de entender los problemas en vez de insultar y menospreciar, tratemos de aprender algo de esta elección.

…as it was 5 years ago, “the others” have returned to categorically win in the first round. Those others, people who work hours and hours in the field, factory workers, the poor in the rural mountain ranges and the Amazon, the poor from Lima that live in young villages (some of which are no longer considered as such because according to the INEI [the national statistical agency] they do not earn 257 soles [about 92 US dollars] a month, but rather 280! [around 100 US dollars]), those people that we believe do not exist because a new mall has opened over there or a new building was erected, those people have a voice and they have a vote. Recently, every five years we feel their presence and we have the dissatisfaction of surprising ourselves with the results. (…) Let's try to understand the problems instead of insulting or taking them for granted, let's try to learn something from this election.

The results of the first round have had enormous repercussions on the social networks, above all due to the fact that the three candidates most voted-for were the least favored on the social networks during the campaign, much like what had occurred in Colombia with Antanas Mockus.

As Augusto Ayesta [es] points out, in newspaper La República:

hoy podemos ver que el Perú no es Facebook, ni Twitter, ni Hi5. La mayoría de electores no está allí y aunque más de seis millones de jóvenes entre 18 y 29 años hayan ejercido su derecho a voto, la lucha se sigue dando, fundamentalmente, afuera de la red.

today we can see that Peru is not Facebook, or Twitter, or Hi5. The majority of the votes are not there and although more than six million youths between the ages of 18 and 29 have exercised their right to vote, the fight continues, fundamentally, outside the Internet.

Those who are not happy with either of the two candidates that have entered the second round express their feelings on social networks, as Juan Carlos Olivera [es] demonstrates on Facebook:

Es tiempo de ver quién quiera [sic]al Perú. Si no te gusta que Humala y Keiko estén en segunda vuelta, no te vayas del país. Hay que quedarse a luchar en contra de cualquier influencia chavista o liberación de algún asesino, seamos el ojo vigilante ante cualquier huevada[tontería] que haga el próximo presidente.

It's time to see who loves Peru. If you don't like that Humala and Keiko are in the second round, don't leave the country. It is imperative that you stay and fight against whatever Chavez-like influence or the liberation of some assassin, we must be vigilant before whatever nonsense the next president puts forth.

Others, such as Jose Benjamin (@Jose_Benjamin_) [es] and Vanessa Liberati (@Cori1610) [es], complain openly about the “socially resentful” who gave their votes to Humala and Fujimori, even labeling them ignorant, like Carolina Gonzales (@ADAMGASMIC) [es]:

@MariMim @joselynmegalam el voto de humala y de keiko predomina en los sectores C,D y E (los mas ignorantes) los mas manejables!

@MariMim @joselynmegalam the vote for humala and keiko predominates in the C, D, and E sectors (the most ignorant) the most easily manipulated!

Or more openly, as Miguel Angel Cárdenas (@dragonrampante) [es] points out:

“Voy a pagarle la multa a mi empleada [mucama doméstica] para que no vote por Ollanta”, le escucho a una ppkausa [simpatizante de Kuczynski]. Se merecen un Humala! pero nos friegan a todos

“I'm going to pay my employee's [domestic servant's] bill so that she does not vote for Ollanta,” I heard a PPK-er [supporter of Kuczynski] say. They deserve an Humala! but they screw us all over.

Another large sector reacts to these comments. Katya Delgado (@mamibrujita) [es] states:

Realmente, viendo los comentarios en FB de algunos PPKausas [partidarios de Kuczynski], entiendo por qué Humala ha ganado estas elecciones. Da pena ver tanto racismo

Really, seeing the comments on FB from some PPK-ers [supporters of Kuczynski], I understand why Humala has won these elections. It's sad to see so much racism

Many Twitter users set themselves apart from the comments on the social networks that are qualified as racist, like @Kñoda [es] and the popular Peruvian Chef Gastón Acurio, who comments on his Facebook page [es]:

Orgulloso de mis hijas. Fajándose en facebook, sin temor alguno con esos jovencitos que habiéndolo tenido todo en la vida, en vez de ser un ejemplo para los más humildes hoy expresan repugnantes comentarios racistas que tanto daño le hacen a la union y grandeza de nuestra patria. Las amo.
Proud of my daughters. Joining in and provoking discussions on facebook, without the fear of one of these youngsters that, having had it their entire lives, instead of setting an example for the more humble, today express repugnant, racist comments that hurt the union and the grandeur of our country. I love them.

A poor neighborhood in the Chorrillos district in Lima (Photo: J. Enrique Molina)

Antonio Salazar (@Bitocho) [es] alludes to the sector of poor Peruvians and Josué Calderón (@JosueZeroBalas) [es] voices his opinion on Twitter:

Hoy no ganaron los IGNORANTES, ganaron LOS IGNORADOS… Tomemos consciencia, dejemos de creer q el Peru solo es tu cole [colegio], tu uni [universidad], tus patitas [grupo de amigos]

Today the IGNORANT have not won, the IGNORED have won… Let us be conscious, let us stop believing that Peru is only your high school, your university, your group of friends

While the candidates that did not pass to the second round say mea culpa for their errors, admit defeat [es] and evaluate the country's new political scene [es], Peruvian businessmen are expecting and awaiting the proposals from the two finalists [es], as well as those politicians who are already beginning to retrain themselves and evaluate who they will support in the second round.[es]

And social network users also meditate, doubt [es], withdraw themselves and even announce that they will take action from anti-Humala [es] or anti-Keiko [es] platforms. Some simply invite others to maintain vigilance for democracy in the country, as Carlos Gcg [es] or Janter Mozombite Manuyama [es] invokes:

Recien me despierto de esta pesadilla que se veía venir, me da pena mi país, pero que podemos hacer amigos asi es la democracia y a prepararnos para estar vigilantes a los posibles atropellos que puedan venir con la elección de cualquiera de estos dos señores, recordando las épocas universitarias en que peleamos contra la dictadura fujimontesinista…Hay que estar alertas de nuevo.

I just woke up from this nightmare that I saw coming, I'm sad for my country, but what can we do, friends? This is how democracy is, and let's prepare ourselves to be vigilant before the possible abuse that can come with the election of whichever of these two candidates, remembering the time in University when we fought against the Fujimori-Montesinos dictatorship… We have to be alert once again.
(Second photo courtesy of J. Enrique Molina.)

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