With just a week to go to the new elections to Congress, the majority of voters remain firmly in the ‘don’t know’ column of the opinion polls. This makes it practically impossible to hazard intelligent guesses as to what the eventual outcome might be.

Many voters are evidently brassed-off with the whole systems of elections, expecting that the new Congress will not be much better – possibly even worse – than its predecessor closed down on 30 September. Even if they are not, it is hard for even the more informed elector to know who to vote for among lists of names which mostly mean little or nothing to them.

Normally legislative elections take place at the same time as presidential elections, so voters tend to be guided by the party to which their preferred candidate for president belongs. Also, this time television political advertising has been banned. This may help reduce the expense of elections (and thus potential for corruption) but it also results in a lack of familiarity with names on the ballot sheet.

Of the polls that have been conducted, these are probably more reliable in gauging opinion in Lima and major cities than elsewhere in the country. Although Lima accounts for a third of the electorate, that leaves two-thirds who live in the provinces. Voting preferences in the regions tend to support local parties and candidates.

There is also a proliferation of parties, 21 at the last count. This means that many of them will not manage to muster the 5% of the vote to count in the final tally of seats won.

The more organised parties with recognised leaderships will probably have the edge. These would seem to include parties like Acción Popular, Alianza para el Progreso, Fuerza Popular, the Partido Morado and the Frente Amplio. No party is likely to win the sort of majority that Fuerza Popular achieved in 2016 with 73 out of 130 seats.

But beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess….