Peru goes to the polls today to elect a president. According to the latest surveys, the two candidates in this, the second round as it is called, Juan Pablo Kuczynski and Keitko Fujimori are in a statistical dead heat. Today, the voters will decide who governs this Andean country during the upcoming years.
Both candidates promise to continue with the country’s dominant neoliberalism, in spite of the strong protests from Peru´s bases. Neither candidate shows much comprehension of the reason and motivations for the social unrest, insisting that antipoverty campaigns and even a strong hand are adequate responses. This insistence on continuing is the only option, despite the strong presence of the left in the first round of elections. The country is divided.
Corruption and the narco-state also became strong themes in Peru´s election. It is a country where the current government and the former have been drawn into the Lava Jato scandal of the neighboring country of Brazil and one where the production and export of cocaine continues as a strong and demanding reality.
The elections has tended, during the last week, to turn on these two themes, corruption and drug traffic. Furthermore, the theme of authoritarianism versus democracy also surged as did that of the presence of operatives from the government of former president Alberto Fujimori in the current elections and in a future government of his daughter, Keiko Fujimori.
Questions of who is more Peruvian and who knows the country better as well as the reality of those who are not “rich cholos” in a term borrowed from a disgraced official of Keiko Fujimori’s party. Both candidates come from immigrant populations, maintain ties with other, powerful countries, and have spouses who are North American.
Today, the people decide, even though there is a movement to reject the elections. Given the statistical tie, much will depend on on the strength of that rejection and on the percentage of people who decide to exercise their vote.
Besides the elections, today will be a pleasant and tranquil Sunday in which people will take the day to spend it with family, enjoying food and each other’s company in the great Peruvian style.