Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Change is Coming to Peru

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on April 27, 2011

by Eric Farnsworth for Americas Quarterly, April 25th, 2011.

Peruvians go to the polls June 5 for the second round of voting to determine their next president. Early handicappers have Ollanta Humala leading Keiko Fujimori and pulling away. Of course, anything can happen, and five weeks is an eternity in politics. Nonetheless, already a debate is raging whether Humala, should he indeed be elected, will be a Peruvian version of former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or a Chávez acolyte, or perhaps some sort of hybrid nationalist.

Credit where it is due: Humala has effectively repositioned himself during the campaign as a moderate in the Lula model, rather than the populist authoritarian in the Chávez model who scared Peruvian voters and opened the door to a rehabilitation of President Alan Garcia during the last electoral cycle. Since then he has shed his military garb and taken to wearing suits, disavowed Chávez, and toned down the anti-business, class-warring rhetoric. Investors are not delighted by the choice between him and Fujimori and they are casting a wary eye, but neither are they—yet—running for the exits.

The primary knock against Fujimori is that she is the daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, now in jail in Peru. Much of her campaign platform has been ignored by observers and analysts obsessed with the prospect that her main initiative—were she to be elected—would be to pardon her father and serve as his puppet. That is an overly narrow view of what she would do as Peru’s first female president. Nonetheless, if elected, the polarizing albatross of her father would make it doubly difficult to govern, generating fierce resistance, particularly with a minority in Congress. (continue reading… )

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