By Ivan Garcia-Hidalgo | Monday, April 11th, 2011
As many of you know, Peru held its presidential elections yesterday in a very democratic fashion and without incident. The results are less than celebratory for many as Hugo Chavez’ handpicked candidate, Ollanta Humala moved forward to a runoff and at the top of the list with an almost 8% point advantage. Along with him, daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori will attempt to follow her father’s footsteps and obtain the presidential seat for the next 5 years.
Many folks are asking what happened? Why in a country that is enjoying almost double digit growth for the better of a decade can something like this occur? So in a nutshell here’s the answer. The center and right of center candidates never seem to agree on one candidate or a strategy so they continue to divide their vote. Alejandro Toledo, the former President at one point had poll numbers in the low to mid 30′s, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) the former investment banker and finance minister was struggling to survive at 5%, Luis Castaneda the former Lima Mayor had at one point also been the front runner with numbers in the mid to high 20′s. When the race was over, PPK’s numbers were at 21%, Toledo 15% and Castaneda 10%, if you add them together they are higher than either Humala’s 31% and Fujimori’s 23%.
The big problem now will be if Fujimori can beat Humala in the runoff election to be held June 5th. If you break down the numbers, she should be able to take most if not all of PPK’s voters as they mostly come from the A & B segment which highly rejects Humala and a few from C, D & E which could support him. From Toledo, maybe about half as he also has a strong following coming from the C, D & E segments which would migrate over to Humala. From Castaneda, that could also end up being an even split. With that formula in mind she could come up with numbers in the low to mid 50′s which would give her the victory and place in history as Peru’s first woman President.
With that said, Humala has been running a very well executed and disciplined campaign, he has moderated his rhetoric and is advised by Brazilians with recent Presidential success under their belt. Despite this, he is a Chavez understudy and will seek to implement that model of government as has Ortega, Morales and Correa. Humala has said many times he will change back the constitution to that of 1979 and nationalize what he seems to be of National interest. There have been rumors since his first campaign back in 2006 that he was heavily funded directly by the Chavez regime as is the case now. When you look at his financial campaign reports, the numbers simply don’t add up!
Humala was very conciliatory last night after hearing his pass onto the next round, calling to unity and saying he will reach out to other political groups. This should raise a red flag immediately since it goes against everything he said, pushed, promoted and incited during his run. Peruvians need to be on watch as he will try and do and say anything to get elected and will be sure to pull out all the negatives Fujimori’s imprisoned father has available to his advantage. He will claim to be for democracy and that his opponent will simply replicate her father’s errors. Humala will use her youth (35 years old) and inexperience as reasons why not to vote for her amongst many others.
The key take away here is for the political class which seems to be losing out every election cycle to find a way to work together and consolidate candidates. If they are able to reach this milestone, they might position themselves for better results, if not will have to get used to voting for the less of two evils instead of for the best candidate. In their previous election they had the same problem, sending Alan Garcia and Humala to a runoff which was dubbed a vote between AIDS and CANCER. This time around Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru’s Nobel prize winner is saying Peru has two options, suicide or a miracle!