Peruvians will decide their next president on June 6 as two candidates from radically opposed positions aim to restructure politics in the country, the neoliberal-right representative Keiko Fujimori and the progressive-left candidate Pedro Castillo, who leads the polls.
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Keiko Fujimori, daughter of dictator Alberto Fujimori, lost the race to the presidency in 2011 during the second round against Ollanta Humala, and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski defeated her in 2016.
According to the experts, the "anti-Fujimorismo" is one of the most prominent tendencies in Perú since Fujimori's dictatorship was the scenario for an array of corruption and violations of human rights that led to a 25 years sentence upon Fujimori in 2009. Keiko herself was prosecuted and condemned to 30 years in prison but was released amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Thanks Juliaca, for this historical welcome!"
However, his daughter Keiko now leads the Fuerza Popular party, which owns the majority in Congress. Still, this support won't be enough in recent years; the "anti-Keiko-Fujimorismo" movement has increased considerably. Her free-market approach to the country's current challenges allowed her to move to the second round, but with only 13 percent of the valid votes, a much lower rate compared to previous elections.
On the other hand, the teacher and union leader Alberto Castillo, the establishment outsider who led a 75-days national strike by the teacher's union movement in 2017, has pledged to carry out a state-centered program that would make room for nationalizations and a new political Constitution through a constituent assembly as well as a constitutional court. Moreover, he wants to reform the pension system to favor the most vulnerable.
Although the media in his country and the political elite have tried to cast him as "a dangerous communist" and the person that "would turn Peru into a new Venezuela," the union's leader won 16 out of the 24 Peruvian regions in the first round and currently leads voter intention polls according to the latest survey by IPSOS, which grants 51.1 percent of valid votes to Castillo.
Moreover, Castillo's background has earned him the trust of the poorest. He was born in Chota, Cajamarca, in a rural village and lived in poverty himself. Those rural areas, victims of the drug trade, unaffordable health services, and high crime rates and neglected by past governments, voted for him the most.