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Peru: 2011 Elections: Candidates Tied, Peruvians Divided

The second round [es] of presidential elections in Peru reaches its final leg in the midst of unresolved social conflict and the polarization [es] of an electorate so large that it has generated not only public statements but also citizen mobilization, through the collection of signatures and public demonstrations against each of the candidates, the conservative Keiko Fujimori [Fuerza 2011] and the nationalist Ollanta Humala [Gana Perú].

Peruvian election candidates Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori. Photos: TVCultura (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and Congress of the Republic (CC BY 2.0).

Peruvian election candidates Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori. Photos: TVCultura (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) and Congress of the Republic (CC BY 2.0).

The issue that has been heating up in recent weeks are the charges of alleged fraud made by Gana Peru, which accused government authorities of not observing the neutrality required by law and instead pulling strings, both at the political level and through the media [es], to allegedly favor Keiko Fujimori [es]. There have even been attacks on some journalists [es], demanding more plurality and objectivity in their coverage.

The other social conflict that has dominated headlines this week due to the high level of vandalism [es] that has been reached is that of Puno, a dispute [es] that has been cleverly used by candidates to make public statements that prop up their popularity. Humala says it is unfortunate that this happens precisely at this juncture in Puno, a region where  his party is leading the polls [es], while Fujimori directly accuses Humala [es] of being behind these riots. (At the end of writing this article, it appears that negotiations were reaching and initial agreement) [es].

The candidates have based their strategies not so much on the presentation of new proposals as on the disqualification of their opponent, where they have even resorted to appealing to the fears of Peruvian society [es], swearing on the Bible [es] and even showing support or adherence to intellectual or media personalities, since Peru's political parties  are  so discredited that they have lost virtually all capacity for endorse a candidate.

With just a few days left until Sunday June 5, 2011, the date scheduled for the second round of elections in Peru, the latest poll on voting preferences also reflects this division of the electorate, as they provide somewhat different results; although all agree that the difference between the candidates has narrowed to a draw, not only do they give different figures but some put Fujimori in the first place, and others Humala.

Polls published on Sunday 29 May (1) give the following results; Ipsos-Apoyo [es] indicates 50.5% for Keiko Fujimori  and 49.5% for Humala, IMASEN [es] reports 43.8% for Ollanta Humala and 42.5% for Keiko Fujimori;  on the other hand CPI [es] counts 44.6% for Fujimori and and 41.5% for Humala.

That is to say, that neither candidate has achieved a decisive majority, given that the difference between the preferences for each candidate oscillate between 1% and 3%.

A poll carried out just a few days before these by the Institute of Public Opinion of the Catholic University [es] already predicted these results [es] giving 44.2% to Keiko Fujimori and 43.7 to Ollanta humala, consigning 12.1% white or null votes.

Graffiti against Keiko Fujimori, Lima. Photo: courtesy of Juan Arellano.

Graffiti against Keiko Fujimori, Lima. Photo: courtesy of Juan Arellano.

What no poll has been able to measure beyond the numbers is the degree of polarization of Peruvian society and its geographical correlation.

Until now, Keiko Fujimori has the largest acceptance in Lima, Callao and the large capitals of the coast, places where the economic and financial activity of the country is centered; while Ollanta Humala leads the polls in the Andean regions of Peru, most of all in the center and south, areas where the largest pockets of the population are living in extreme poverty.

José Enrique Escardó, of El Quinto Pie del Gato [es], criticizes the form in which the candidates have managed their social networks and echoes the sentiments of many Peruvians in a post titled “Neither Fujimori Nor Humala”:

Reafirmo, además, que votaré viciado en la segunda vuelta y mi compromiso de mantener una actitud vigilante frente al próximo gobierno, ya que considero que ambos candidatos reúnen las características psicológicas necesarias para convertirse en gobernantes autoritarios y tienen un pasado y formación que no les permite gozar de mi confianza.

I reaffirm, furthermore, that I will vote null in the second round and my commitment to maintain a vigilant attitude in the face of the next government, even though I believe that both candidates posses psychological characteristics necessary to become authoritarian rulers and have a past and a career that doesn't allow them to enjoy my confidence.

Others, like Marcona Digital Noticias [es], don't hesitate to express their support for Ollanta Humala:

…siendo objetivos, la mayor amenaza a la democracia y a las libertades individuales representa el fujimorismo: los diez años de dictadura lo avalan, la corrupción generalizada, la destrucción a las instituciones, latrocinios, violación de los Derechos Humanos, etc. De Humala se tendrá dudas, pero de Fujimori hay pruebas certeras.

Being objective, the largest threat to democracy and individual liberties is represented by Fujimorismo: the 10 years of dictatorship guarantee it, widespread corruption, destruction of institutions, larceny, human rights violations, etc. Of Humala you have doubts but of Fujimori there are accurate proofs.

But Keiko Fujimori has also inspired her supporters, whose posture is summarized by El Asterisko 22 [es] in a post titled “I will vote for Keiko!”:

Porque Keiko es honesta.

Porque Keiko tiene un buen equipo de gobierno.

Porque Keiko no se ha  vendido a ningún extranjero y porque no recibe órdenes de Chavez, Fidel u otro comunista.

Because Keiko is honest.

Because Keiko has a good governing team.

Because Keiko hasn't sold herself to any foreigner and because she doesn't take orders from Chavez, Fidel or any other communist.

The polarization of Peruvian voters is very visible not only in blogs but also daily on the streets, markets, research centers, offices, even within families, and is obviously even stronger on social networks, where it seems nearly all express their preferences, encourage others to vote for their candidate and are openly harassing those who say they will vote for the other.

Jeroónimo (@chipana40) expresses his preference for Keiko Fujimori:

@noakeiko DEJEN DE ENGAÑAR AL PUEBLO, EL PUEBLO QUIERE PROGRESO, GRACIAS A FUJIMORI HOY TENEMOS UN PAIS EN CRECEMIENTO

@noakeiko STOP FOOLING THE PEOPLE, THE PEOPLE WANT PROGRESS, THANKS TO FUJIMORI TODAY WE HAVE A COUNTRY THAT IS GROWING

Meanwhile, Diva ✔ (@Samanfu) tweets:

Gente q vota x Keiko: Los que no quieren votar x Humala, los de ultra derecha y a los que les gustó el gobierno de Alberto [Fujimori]

People that vote for Keiko: Those that don't want to vote for Humala, those of the ultra right and those that liked the government of Alberto [Fujimori]

Others are more aggressive, like Juan Pablo Limachi:

TODOS LOS IGNORANTES,,,, STAN CON KEIKO,,,,,,,,,,,BUENO PERSONAS,, QUE NO TOENEN CEREBRO COMO PARA TODO LO QUE HIZO,, LA KEIKO COMO 1ra,, DAMA Y CONGRESISTA,,,,

ALL THE IGNORANT ,,,, ARE WITH KEIKO,,,,,,,,,,OK PEOPLE,, THAT DON'T HAVE THE BRAIN TO SEE FOR ALL THAT SHE DID,, KEIKO AS THE 1ST LADY AND CONGRESSWOMAN

Angélica Quintana (@Angieliquita) makes it clear that:

Ojoo mi votoo no es por keiko, es contra Humala

Listen my vote is not for Keiko, it is against Humala.

Edgar Zárate opines on his Facebook wall:

La gente conciente y los intelectuales con moral han decido votar por Ollanta y el resto por Keiko.

The intellectuals and conscious people with morals have decided to vote for Ollanta and the rest for Keiko.

Yosseline Enriquez (@YosselineHazel) assures that:

Lastimosamente el Sr. Humala confunde todo con un campo de batalla. Pena de verdad por los que crean que ese Sr. es lo que Perú necesita.

Pitifully Mr. Humala confuses everything with a battle field. I'm truly sorry for those who believe that this man is what Peru needs.

Giulia Razzeto (@bluegiulia) posts his disenchantment with both options:

@P_blo_ Keiko es hja de un corrupto y asesino pero Humala,es asesino de policías y golpista frustrado. Entre otras perlas. No le creo nada.

@P_blo_ Keiko is the daughter of a corrupt man and an assassin but Humala, is a police assassin and a frustrated coup perpetrator. Among other ‘attributes’. I don't believe anything he says.

Considering the narrow statistical margin separating Fujimori from Humala, local political analysts believe that the public debate between the candidates (which took place on Sunday, May 29, in Lima) will be critical to tilt the high percentage of undecided voters in favor of either candidate.

(1) NOTE: In accordance with Peruvian laws, the publication of voting intention polls is only permitted until one week before the date of the vote, that is why these are published today, Sunday May 29, which will be the last day that the media can share results with the public.

3 comments

  • Pedro

    Las personas ignorantes son las q estan votando por Humala, personaje amigo del dicatdor Chavez y el seudo lider Evo Morales presidentes que han llevado a sus paises a la quiebra y el desastre. Humala admira tambien a Velasco, genral golpista que atraso al pais por 40 años y él mismo es un golpista comprobado sin moral que nsalzo a su hermano al matar a 4 policias desprevenidos ademas claro de sus crimenes de lessa humanidad en la localidad de Madre Mia. Ha cambiado 4 veces de planes de gobierno lo hace nada confiable. Total a los Fujimori los vencimos pero a Humala sería mas dificil porq este señor tiene hoy mismo tiene compañeros en el ejercito que ya son generales y tiene el poder necesario para dar golpe de estado.

  • Están equivocados…los peruanos no estamos divididos…estamos más unidos que nunca…porque no queremos a comunistas dentro de nuestro país, no queremos ser como Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia o Nicaragua, tampoco queremos tener la política de Brasil. Nosotros tenemos nuestro voto decidido. La gran mayoría votará por Keiko Fujimori…¡¡Yo votaré por Keiko!!

  • Ana Vega

    AQUELLOS QUE EN VERDAD AMAMOS EL PERU Y NOS PREOCUPA SU DESTINO, VOTAREMOS ESTE DOMINGO CON LA RAZON Y NO CON EL HIGADO.

    SIN DUDA LA CANDIDATA KEIKO FUJIMORI NO ES PERFECTA, COMO TAMPOCO LO ES OLLANTA HUMALA, SIN EMBARGO ES, A TODAS LUCES, EL MAL MENOR

    NO AL COMUNISMO
    NO A LA DICTADURA MILITAR
    NO A LA SATANIZACION DE LA LIBERTAD DE PRENSA
    NO A LA VIOLENCIA
    NO A LA PROVOCACION E INCITACION A LA INSURGENCIA
    NO AL ASESINATO DE CAMPESINOS Y A LA COMPRA DE TESTIGOS
    NO A LA AUTORIA MEDIATA DEL ANDAHUAYLAZO
    NO AL DINERO CORRUPTO PROVENIENTE DE HUGO CHAVEZ
    NO A LA ESTATIZACION
    NO A LA DERROGACION DE LOS TRATADOS DE LIBRE COMERCIO
    NO A LA CONVOCATORIA A ASAMBLEA CONSTITUYENTE
    NO A LA RE-ELECCION PRESIDENCIAL
    NO AL ROBO DEL DINERO DE NUESTRAS PENSIONES AFP’S
    NO A LA AGRESION CONTRA QUIENES PIENSAN DIFERENTE
    NO A LAS EXPROPIACIONES
    NO A LOS GOLPES DE ESTADO
    NO AL VELASQUISMO
    NO AL RETROCESO
    NO A LA MENTIRA Y MANIPULACION

    ESTE DOMINGO, LA MAYORIA SILENCIOSA CONFORMADA POR FUJIMORISTAS Y NO FUJIMORISTAS QUE AMAN AL PERU Y QUIEREN LO MEJOR PARA EL PAIS, VOTARA POR LA DEMOCRACIA. KEIKO PRESIDENTE.

    VIVA EL PERU

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