Come April 10th a first round of voting will take place in Latin America’s fastest growing country, Peru. A second round will be necessary if no one candidate is able to pass the 50% needed to claim victory. At this time, polls are signalling to prepare for a second round. After the second round, President Ollanta Humala, a left leaning leader will officially hand over the reigns of this mining powerhouse to the new president on the 28th of July. The field unlike last election is powered by the centre right, however, a left candidate from Cusco is also in the mix.
Who are the candidates running for president?
Keiko Fujimori (32%): Is the front runner for the last two years. Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori (serving a prison sentence) is centre right. Mr. Fujimori is well known to Peruvians for his victory over the Shining Path guerrilla rebel organization and the hyperinflation extreme poverty period of the 90s. Keiko with a reputation as one to lead with a strong hand (something Peruvians are seeking) is the one to beat in the summer runoff.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (14%): Has a narrow lead for second place and if the election was today would be the top contender to take on Keiko Fujimori in the second round. A former Cabinet chief, finance minister and energy and mining minister from the 80s with President Fernando Belaunde Terry and then again in the early 2000s under President Alejandro Toledo. He has strong ties to the United States, is independently wealthy and on record for promising to bring in $20 billion dollars of foreign investment to the mining industry over the next three years.
Alfredo Barnechea (9%): Is the moderate liberal in the race with a bias to the centre left. He comes with a background in journalism, was the host of many political TV interviews, wrote columns in magazines and a former congressman. He is challenging for second place as the one to break up the pro right duo of Fujimori and Kuczynski.
Veronica Mendoza (9%): Born and raised in Cusco, the ancestral capital of the Incan civilization. She speaks both Spanish and the native Incan language of Quechua. A strong left bias with a mandate to increase government spending by 50%, withdraw from free trade agreements and unearth the state planned economic model of the 80s. A former congresswoman of the current Humala administration who left the party in 2012 when it failed to live up to leftist campaign promises.
Alan Garcia (6%): Former President Garcia held power for two terms. It was in the second term of his administration that brought Peru to economic notability. With a far leaning right bias, Garcia with a focus to improving relations with business owners also was in the right place and time by taking advantage of a strong commodity cycle during the mid 2000s. With a poll reading of 6% he has a lot of ground to gain before April 10th.
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References: Peru Reports: (perureports.com/2016-elections-peru/); Telesur (telesurtv.net)