The final debate between the 12 Peruvian presidential candidates, most of whom represent no real choice, seemed to confirm what those who foresee a probable run off between two women have said that the South American nation will soon elect its first female president.
The principal differences in last Sunday’s debate emerged between neoliberal Keiko Fujimori, ahead in all the polls and the progressive Veronika Mendoza.
During the debate, the former defended the economic model and the present neoliberal constitution established during the heavy-handed 1990-2000 government of her father, whilst the latter questioned both by proposing changes in favor of national and popular interests.
Because of this and because the differences between Fujimori and the other candidates are subtle and fewer, Mendoza strengthened her case in that she represents the only alternative to the leader in polls that have polarized the electorate.
Fujimori, ahead in the polls that have seen the progressive Verónika Mendoza gain ground, was beaten in 2011 by the present president Ollanta Humala, is preferred by most of the media and has launched a campaign costing millions.
All of the above has permitted her to accumulate the support of about one third of the electorate, ahead of Mendoza in second place. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a neoliberal with a minimal difference between the two is third and the center-right candidate, Alfredo Barnechea is relegated to fourth.
The progressive Broad Front candidate is gaining support in the polls from all sectors of society, interest groups and regions and is maintaining that upward trend whilst Kuczynski remains stagnant and Barnechea slides.
According to the historian and analyst Nelson Manrique, by maintaining this trend, Mendoza is now assured of making the second round, and the candidate herself has said she is one step away from the second round and two from the presidency.
Manrique considers that the media campaign unleashed against the progressive aspirant has proved counterproductive for its authors. To that can be added the fact the she represents the clearest adversary to Fujimori.
Furthermore, despite the neoliberal preaching of the media, most people now favor a change to the neoliberal economic model embodied by Mendoza.
In the context of such polarization, a movement of mostly young groups has undertaken a series of massive protests against the election of Keiko Fujimori, which they see as a continuation of the heavy-handed regime of her father Alberto, who is in prison for a range of crimes.
Obviously affected by this pressure, the poll leader has promised to respect the constitution, the law and human rights if elected and promised in no way to repeat the so-called “self-coup” of April 4 1992, in which her father used the support of the military to shut down the parliament.Share on FB Share on TT