Can Fujimorismo change its spots?

7 February 2016

Writing in Saturday’s El Comercio, the political analyst Carlos Meléndez strikes a sceptical note about the much-vaunted shift in the nature of Fujimorismo following on from Keiko Fujimori’s well publicised address at Harvard University last autumn. Her remarks were widely interpreted as an attempt to distance herself from the authoritarian image of her father, former president Alberto Fujimori. Since then there has been a ‘mea culpa’ side to her political discourse designed to reduce the numbers clearly hostile to the return of the Fujimori brand. This policy appears to have had some success. Those consulted by pollsters who say they would never vote for Keiko have declined somewhat in the last few months.

Meléndez, however, argues that to understand fujimorismo we have to understand what it represents to the fujimorista electorate. Here he detects far less change, hinting that the Harvard-talk is cosmetic. The fujimoristas have not changed their spots, he says. They “continue within a 1990s mental framework, thanks in large part to threats to citizen security (...) Keiko Fujimori appears trapped as the political representative of a social majority [whose views} contradict her discursive advances”. The demand for authoritarian solutions to current problems is evident among these voters, he says, an electorate keen to defend the sort of anti-institutional behaviour associated with Alberto Fujimori’s rule. Is Keiko capable of transforming this social base into something more democratic? Meléndez seems to think not.

All articles

  • PSG Aims

    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

  • Historical Overview

    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

  • Human Rights

    Human rights violations were widespread during the twenty years after the initiation of armed conflict in 1980. Efforts to convict perpetrators since the war's end have made only limited progress. Today, concerns remain over the treatment of those engaged in social protest, particularly against strategically important investment projects.

  • Why join the PSG?

    • Keep up to date with latest news and developments in Peru
    • Learn about key issues of poverty, development and human rights in Peru
    • Support the work of the Peru Support Group

    Become a member