Keiko under sustained attack over Ramírez drug scandal

30 May 2016

With one week to go until the second round, Keiko Fujimori continues to be surrounded by problematic figures. The scandal of Joaquín Ramírez has now escalated to include her vice-presidential candidate and spokesman, José Chlimper. During the week an audio recording emerged in which Jesús Vásquez, the man who accused Ramírez of money laundering, seemed to retract. But it was later discovered that Chlimper had edited the audio in such a way that Vásquez seemed to go back on his previous statement when in fact the audio clearly showed he was accusing Ramírez of wrongdoing.

On 29 May EL Comercio published a very strongly worded editorial once again asking questions about Keiko in view of the clear possibility that she may win the presidency. The editors questioned her judgment in surrounding herself with so many people with shady reputations and with apparent links to drug trafficking.

Even those convinced that they would abstain, or vote null or void, now say they will support Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Their number include most of the other presidential candidates from the first round, including even Daniel Urresti. The Frente Amplio and Verónika Mendoza have been unequivocal in their support for anyone opposing Keiko Fujimori. Perhaps the most surprising change of heart has come from the supporters of Gregorio Santos who say that this is the time to opt for your enemy, and that Keiko is clearly worse owing to those who surround her.

In the second and final debate between the two candidates on 29 May, Kuczynski rounded on Fujimori and her links with people like Ramírez and Chlimper. “I want to defend democracy; it is the only [system] that works. No more Colina, no more forced sterilisations. We need to block the way for those who are corrupt or who are not transparent. This is basic. What has happened in the last few days? We have seen it with Joaquín Ramírez and José Chlimper. This is not a good sign for a government led by her [Fujimori]...”.

Most of the opinion polls published over the last week put Keiko ahead by 3 to 4 points, but with considerable numbers still either undecided or saying they will vote null or void.

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