Peru: Left-leaning Ollanta Humala leads the vote in a tight first round
April 10, 2011
On 10 April, Peru celebrated the first round of general elections to determine the successor of President Alan Garcia, 130 members of Congress and five members of the Andean Parliament. According to the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) and with 66.6% of the ballots computed, left-wing former army officer Ollanta Humala (Gana Peru) leads the results, with 28.06% of the vote, followed by Congresswoman and daughter of jailed ex-president Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza 2011), who captured 22.48% of the vote. In third place, and just a whisker behind Fujimori, former Finance Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (Alianza por el gran cambio) gained 22.28% of the vote. Surprisingly, former president Alejandro Toledo, who led the vote-intention polls at the start of the campaign, fell back to the fourth place, with 15.17% of the vote. With none of the candidates having garnered more than half of all valid votes, the two frontrunners will face-off in a second round on 5 June. Given the close count between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Ollanta Humala will have to wait for the final tally to know who he will face in the June run-off. Ollanta Humala, who lost against current President Alan Garcia in the last presidential elections in 2006, has gained popularity among low-income groups. Humala campaigned a left-leaning economic policy platform, which implies a certain risk regarding fiscal discipline and inflation control. His pledges include increasing state control of the economy and drawing up a new constitution. In fact, the country's financial markets tumbled as he quickly rose from fourth into the first place in opinion polls over the last month. However, several political analysts pointed out that the consequences of a Humala victory are less certain, as Humala might follow the footsteps of populist politicians in Ecuador and Venezuela or might opt for a more liberal and pragmatic approach to economic policy.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist