Karencita de Perú

Peru’s Presidential Election Results

Posted on: April 12, 2011

Yesterday was election day here in Peru.  Today many people are very worried.

The new President has not been elected yet.  The way the electoral system works here in Peru is that if there is no majority winner after the first vote is goes to a ‘segunda vuelta’ or a run-off.  The two candidates who received the most votes in the first round go head-to-head in the second round and voters must choose one of them.  The next phase of the election process will take place on June 5th.

The results of the first vote, for many, have led to the worst possible outcome.  As of approximately 5:30pm on April 11th about 87% of the votes have been counted.  The leader, with 31.37% of the votes is Ollanta Humala of the party Gana Peru.  Next, is Keiko Fujimori from Fuerza 2011 with 23.223% of the vote.  The early results showed Keiko and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) neck and neck, but as more votes from the rural areas have come in the advantage has swung in Keiko’s favor.  Currently PPK is in third place with 19.225%.

What this means is that the run-off will be between Humala Ollanta and Keiko Fujimori.  In polls done prior to the election, close to 50% of the population said they would never vote for either of these candidates.  Now they will be forced to choose between two undesirable options or to leave their ballot blank.

For those not familiar with Peruvian politics you may be wondering why this is such a bad thing.   Basically, the feeling of many is that they must now choose between Ollanta, a violent, militant admirer of Hugo Chavez and Keiko, the 36-year old,  inexperienced daughter of Alberto Fujimori, who is currently imprisoned for human rights abuses.  The following CNN report sums of the results nicely.  http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/americas/04/11/peru.elections/index.html

How could this happen?  Peru has experienced a lot of growth over the past few years and it’s economy is currently one of the best in South America.   It is the fastest growing economy in Latin America and that growth is projected to continue at 7% in the next year.  While many people have benefited from this economic growth and conditions have improved, there is still a large part of the population, mostly rural, that are living in poverty.   Keiko and Ollanta are the furthest left on the political spectrum of the five candidates that were running for President.  They focussed their campaigns on the poor and rural population, making promises that they are going to help improve their conditions.  Many of these people have little education and feel that they have been ignored or forgotten by previous, more right-leaning leaders.  So, for them, the promises of Keiko and Ollanta are enticing and they are either willing to overlook the negatives or don’t understand the implications of what having either of these two as President could mean for the future economic and political stability of the country.

Another factor that lead to this result is that the vote on the right got split between three candidates instead of just two on the left.   Talking to many people before the election many were undecided between PPK, ex-President Alejandro Toledo and former mayor of Lima Luis Castañeda.  All three candidates proposed sound economic platforms that would have likely ensure continued economic growth and political stability.  Castañeda ended up with only 10% of the vote.  If his vote had gone to either PPK or Toledo , who finished with 15% of the vote,  either one would have ended up in second place, beating out Keiko.

So now the country’s future is uncertain.  Foreigners in Peru are especially worried, more so if Ollanta becomes the eventual President.  Here is the question posed in Facebook by Ben Jonjak of Expatriates in Peru, “I’m curious as to the opinions expats have over the election. Are any of you scared by the possibility of Fujimori or Humala as president? Is this fear great enough that you’re considering leaving Peru? Let me know so I can post your comments (anonymously) and let other expats know your thoughts.”  It will be interesting to see the reaction from within the country as well as internationally once the final result is determined.


4 Responses to "Peru’s Presidential Election Results"

If Humala wins, dusting off the radioactive fallout in Los Angeles doesn’t seem so bad. Humala versus Fujimori is a disappointment for sure, but I’m not taking it as bad as the Peruvians I know. I can blow out of here whenever I want. I’ve been telling everyone to hold their nose and vote for the lesser of the two evils- Fujimori. God knows we’ve had to do it in the US enough times.

Sadly I’m not on Facebook so can’t see what’s going on there. But I can say that I’ve never thought of leaving. While I’m not happy with the two choices I don’t see that it affects me more, as a foreigner, than it does my Peruvian friends or family. Which candidate was proposing to round up foreigners, march them to the main square and have them shot? Oh, that’s right, neither.

I agree. Neither candidate has said they are going to do anything regarding foreigners and I personally don’t feel the need to leave the country. However, I think the feeling of some is that is Ollanta wins and starts to nationalize it will be bad for international investment and business in Peru. If the foreign companies leave, the foreign people working for those companies will also leave. It may not happen, but I think some people are worried it could.

I had access to a TV when they counted 18% of the votes and PPK was second! It was such a crazy race. =P

This sounds like what Fujimori (the dad) did in the past. Didn’t he give money and land to the poor? Is that the best way to develop a country or develop dependence? =P

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