Karencita de Perú

Posts Tagged ‘Luis Castañeda

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.

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At 12:01am on Friday April 8th, the Ley Seca begins here in Peru.   This is the Dry Law that says that no alcohol can be sold prior to Sunday’s Presidential election.  Ironically, one of Peru’s leading grocery chains had a big sale on alcohol today and the place was packed.

I have to say that one of the things that has struck me most about the Peruvian election campaign is that it is very colorful, both figuratively and literally.  Each party has colors to represent it that are very bright and definitely call attention.  In addition, the ballots marked by the voters for President and Vice President  not only contain each candidate’s photo but also the symbol that represents the party.  Voters will also be electing members of congress.  Each person running for congress is represented by a number.  Voters can just mark an ‘X’ on the symbol of the party they want to elect the congressman or woman from or they can write the numbers of two specific individuals who are running for congress, as long as they are from the same party.

So, when they make their important civic decision on Sunday, what options do Peruvians have to choose from?  Five hopeful candidates are running for the post of President. Let’s take a brief look at each candidate, their parties, their symbols and their colors.

Alejandro Toledo – Alianza Perú Posible

Party colors:  yellow & green

Slogan: “What I did well I will do better”

Toledo served as President of Peru from 2001 – 2006.  He has a Ph.D in Economics of Human Resources. He is most well-known for his opposition again former President Alberto Fujimori. Toledo portrays himself as a center-leftist, promising voters not only economic development but also social development.

Keiko Fujimori – Fuerza 2011

Party Colors:  Orange & White

Slogan: Keiko Presidente

As the name suggests, Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of imprisoned Peruvian ex-President Alberto Fujimori.  She is the only female candidate and the youngest at age 35.  She has an MBA and is a Congresswoman in the current government.   She is a spokeswoman for the poor and underprivileged and is mostly supported by the rural population.  Here campaign has been surrounded by the controversy that, if elected, many think she will pardon her father. 

Luis Castañeda Lossio – Solidaridad Nacional

Party Colors:  Yellow

Slogan:  Para que todos vivamos mejor (So that we all live better)

Castañedo, often referred to as Lucho, is the former mayor of the City of Lima.  His term ended in late 2010.  As mayor he completed many works projects the most visible being the Metropolitano bus system.  His support is concentrated mainly in Lima and has waned off in the last weeks of the campaign.

Ollanta Humala – Gana Perú

Party Colors:  Red & White

Slogan:  Honestidad para hacer la diferencia (Honesty to make the difference)

Ollanta is one of the most controversial of the candidates due to his ties to Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.   Ollanta served in the Peruvian army and achieved the rank Lieutenant Colonel.  He is leftist leaning but has moved his policies closer to the center to gain more support from voters.  Ollanta was ahead in the final poll published prior to the election, but according to the poll, would lose against all candidates in the likely event of a run-off.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski – Alianza por el Gran Cambio

Colors: multiple

Slogan: “PPKuy sabe cómo hacerlo” (PPKuy knows how to do it)

Kuczynski, most commonly referred to as PPK, served as Minister of Energy and Mining, of the Economy and President of the Council of Ministers in Toledos government.  He is an economist and has a sound reputation for conventional economics.   During the campaign, PPK became known for his mascot, PPKuy, a human-sized guinea pig character that has been the success of his campaign and has turned into a promotional sensation.  PPK has been the only candidate to honestly say that there are limits to what the government can spend to solve some of the countries problems such as poverty and underpaid teachers and police.


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