“We are going to recover the money with the re-negotiation of contracts with the big companies, with the mining companies that take the assets of the country,” he said. “How is it possible that such a rich country has so much suffering, so much inequality, and only the greatest gains, even if they do not work.”
School Teacher Vs Political Descendants
“At this point in Peru, between the health crisis and the economic crisis, there is a kind of competition for populist proposals,” said Peruvian political analyst Fernando Tuesta. The proposal they think will attract voters.
A schoolteacher and union leader, Castillo enjoys strong support outside Peru’s capital, Lima, where more people struggle to access public services such as health and education, attracting voters who want change.
Fujimori, who dominate Lima, which accounts for nearly a third of Peru’s population, has meanwhile drawn together voters for whom the current system is working and those who want to keep the left out of power.
He received 13.36% of the vote in the first round, compared to 19.09% for Castillo, but polling leading up to the second round of voting shows the gap is narrowing. A May 28 poll by Ipsos for El Comercio newspaper showed a narrow lead for Castillo, with a technical draw within the margin of error: 51.1% for the left-wing candidate against 48.9% for Fujimori.
While second-round campaigns are generally very polarized, it is “extremely polarized,” Tuesta told CNN. “It is almost a face-off between the two extremes of the political spectrum,” he said. “Political Center was defeated in the first round.”
Is Peru Ready for the Left?
“No more poor people in a rich country,” has been one of Castillo’s rallies on the campaign trail, where he has also protested in the Lima-focused national media about unfair treatment. His tour of the country has attracted massive crowds and according to the candidate’s Twitter account, he has discussed democracy, private investment and scientific cooperation with Diego Melado, the EU’s ambassador to Peru.
Tuesta told CNN it is the first time a presidential candidate has positioned himself on the left in Peru, where communism is often associated with the Shining Path guerrilla group. Although he emphasized that there are few parallels between Castillo and the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, Peru’s history means voters are wary of the left. “Peru is so polarized that anyone who does not support Keiko Fujimori is criticized as communist,” Tuesta said.
In fact, Castillo’s first-round success rallied some unlikely allies to Fujimori’s cause, even ending a historical animosity between Fujimori and influential public intellectual and Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, who has repeatedly talked about his support for the right-wing candidate. Despite vowing never to vote for any member of the Fujimori family. They have also welcomed the Venezuelan opposition leader in Peru, Leopoldo López, who warned the country to become “another Venezuela” if Castillo wins, a common attack line against leftists in Latin America.
According to Tuesta, the legislature would be dominated by right-wing groups, making it easier for Fujimori to form a coalition than Castillo. “It will be a weak minority government,” he said of a possible Castillo presidency.
Whoever wins, political instability could worsen under the next government, Tuesta also warns, as Congressional groups split over the course of a five-year term. “It is hard for a government to rely on a coalition to guarantee stability for five years,” he said. “Next year in Peru means a longer period, here the game is played on a very short-term basis.”
Many voters blamed Fujimori for the recent instability, added Tuesta, as his party was by far the largest party in the outgoing Congress. She has acknowledged her role on the campaign trail.
“I admit that in the recent past, my party and I were not prepared for this work,” he said during a press conference in Arequipa on 30 May. So today without any excuse, I apologize to all of them. who have felt impressed or disappointed with us at some point of time, and I do so with humility without reservation as I am well aware that there are still many doubts about my candidature.”
While Fujimori’s history counts against him, he has struck a deal in recent weeks in an attempt to end Castillo’s lead in the polls. “I want to be the President of Peru to build and multiply, not diminish and divide,” Fujimori said during the presidential debate on May 30. On Thursday, in a Facebook Live broadcast surrounded by his technical advisers, Castillo promised that he would uphold the Constitution and respect the political system that has brought him so close to leading the country so far — or not.
On Sunday, Peruvians decide whether to give the controversial Fujimori dynasty another turn at the top of the country or take a new path with Castillo.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly quoted the name of the political analyst.