Leftist candidate Verónika Mendoza and the right-wing Keiko Fujimori were protagonists this Monday of the first day of the official debate organized by the National Elections Jury (JNE) before the general elections in April 11 in Peru.
Peru To Witness Debates Among 18 Presidential Candidates
The presence of the only two women in the presidential race stood out on a day in which former mayor George Forsyth, who until just over a month ago was the favorite in opinion polls, also participated alongside right-wing candidate Alberto Beingolea,
Both Mendoza and Fujimori, and Forsyth are in a group of candidates fighting for second place in citizen preferences, behind the current leader, the center-left Yohny Lescano Popular Action Party (AP), to go to a second electoral round.
The first of the debate sessions, scheduled at the Lima Convention Center and broadcast on national television, was completed by the candidates César Acuña, from the populist Alliance for Progress, and Marco Arana from the leftist Frente Amplio.
In a format in which the candidates had little time to expose continuously, the fight against covid-19 played a leading role, a point at which all agreed to criticize the lack of massive citizen vaccination.
Mendoza assured that Peru "is going through a serious moment again" and "emergency measures" need to be dictated. At the same time, Fujimori said that the pandemic "had exposed the fact that the presidents are absolutely incapable, inefficient, and have ideological flaws" to deal with the health emergency effectively.
The six candidates insisted on the urgency of purchasing vaccines and speeding up the immunization campaign, and improving health care capacity in the country.