Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

In Tight Race, Humala Wins Peruvian Runoff Vote

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on June 6, 2011

by Carin Zissis for Americas Society / Council of the Americas, June 6th, 2011.

After a neck-and-neck race, Ollanta Humala edged out Keiko Fujimori to win the June 5 runoff vote for Peru’s presidency. With over 88 percent of votes tallied on the morning of June 6, Humala had won 51.27 percent of the vote against Fujimori’s 48. 5 percent. Though Fujimori carried Lima, Humala won in a majority of Peru’s regions. A retired military officer, he spent much of his candidacy trying to shake off comparisons with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and replace them with the more centrist model of ex-President of Brazil Inácio Lula da Silva. But his opponent had ghosts of her own; Keiko Fujimori, an ex-legislator, is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori—now serving time for corruption and human rights abuses carried out under his watch. To some degree, both candidates can thank the centrist candidates in April’s first-round election for dividing the centrist-voter block, thereby letting the left-leaning Humala and the conservative Fujimori advance (Humala won the first round with 31.7 percent against Fujimori’s 23.6 percent). When he takes office next month, Humala faces the challenge of reuniting a country split by a divisive presidential race.

The Nationalist Party’s Humala has spent much of his campaign distancing himself from the label “leftist.” An El País article makes the case that his political shift dates further back. When he lost a 2006 runoff against current president Alan García, reports the article, Humala realized that his biggest misstep involved linking his political platform to chavismo. Observers still have their doubts, evidenced in comments from Peruvian congressman and Humala-campaign spokesman Daniel Abugattas, who contended that property will not be nationalized under the new president. “There isn’t going to be a tax on your chickens,” he told a Lima-based TV station. “Nobody’s going to take away your house or your garage. Nothing that’s being posted on Facebook or Twitter is going to happen.” In a country that has seen rapid economic growth, Humala has not won over the business community but found support among poor voters who feel left out of the boom. (continue reading… )

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