Presidential Candidates Face Run-off Elections in Peru

April 20, 2016

This past Sunday, April 10th, Peruvians headed to the polling booths to cast their votes for the next president. Among the candidates that are running are Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, Pablo Kuczynski, a former prime minister, and the leftist Veronika Mendoza. Keiko Fujimori came out of the first round of elections with just 39.5 percent of the votes, Kuczynski with 21 percent and Mendoza with 18 percent, meaning the top two candidates will head to a runoff election on June 5th.2 Both the Fujimori and Kuczynski parties look as though they will remain in the majority of the congress.3

While Peru has been enjoying a 20-year period of economic stability, much of which is due to the policies of Alberto Fujimori, the country still faces issues with foreign investment, wealth inequality, and conflict with the rebel group The Shining Path. Both Fujimori and Kuczynski are fiscally conservative and would keep economic policies the same while Mendoza aims to lower national interest rates and diminish mining activity, a sector of the Peruvian economy that is crucial. The current president, Ollanta Humala, cannot run for two consecutive terms, but both frontrunning candidates would likely continue many of his policies. Keiko Fujimori’s social policies are more authoritarian than Kuczynski and Humala’s, who are more moderate in their positions and attitudes towards The Shining Path.

The notoriety attached to the Fujimori name in Peru has not gone unnoticed and can perhaps be attributed to Keiko Fujimori’s weak success in the first round of elections. In the 1990s, her father created the path for a strong economy but, in doing so, committed many crimes against humanity in order to rid the country of Shining Path rebels, a group which still remains active today yet on a much smaller scale. On the eve of the presidential election, a polling place guarded by soldiers was attacked leaving six dead, an attack presumed to be organized by the rebel group.3 Alberto Fujimori’s name still stirs up emotional sentiment while he remains in jail for corruption and human rights abuses, and on April 5th, the 24th anniversary of his jailing, people took to the street to protest human rights abuses.

Recently, Keiko Fujimori signed an agreement pledging not to commit the same crimes as her father, and has claimed she would not release him from jail but believes he would be rightfully released in the future. Kuczynski, on the other hand, said that he would pass a bill allowing older prisoners, such as Alberto Fujimori, to finish their sentences at home. Keiko Fujimori was defeated last election round by the current president, Ollanta, and foremost among the reasons for her defeat was the familial affiliation with her father. With the anticlimactic results after the first round of voting, it remains unclear which candidate will come out on top, but it appears that many Peruvians are wary of the past and are looking to move forward in a Peru free of the Fujimori legacy.


 

  1. Zarate, Andrea, and Nicholas Casey. "Keiko Fujimori, Ex-President’s Daughter, Heads to Runoff in Peru." The New York Times. The New York Times, 10 Apr. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/11/world/americas/fujimori-peru-president...

  2. "Peru Election: Keiko Fujimori Leads in First round - BBC News." BBC News. N.p., 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-36011844

  3. Scollo, Ursula, and Mitra Taj. "Two Pro-business Candidates Make Peru Runoff, Markets Rise." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, 11 Apr. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-peru-election-idUSKCN0X708N

About Author(s)

Sophia Winston
Sophia Winston is a Spanish and Urban Studies major at the University of Pittsburgh, she is also pursuing a certificate in Latin American Studies and a minor in Portuguese. She has spent a semester abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and is currently a senior.