One step forward, two steps back?

4 June 2017

An attempt to unify the left (or at least some sectors within it) looks likely to divide it still further.

Since last year’s strong electoral performance by Verónika Mendoza (who achieved 2.8 million votes or nearly 19% of the total) and the Frente Amplio (which became the second largest bloc in Congress), the spirit of unity within the left in Peru swiftly dissipated.

The Frente Amplio has witnessed a deep division between Tierra y Libertad and the supporters of Marco Arana and those who prefer to associate with Mendoza. Since Tierra y Libertad enjoys the status of a registered party and because Arana has a seat in Congress (and Mendoza does not) it is in a stronger position. Mendoza, for her part, is seeking to muster sufficient signatures to register her faction, Nuevo Perú, as a recognised party.

In the event of this seemingly irreconcilable tension, other sectors have taken the initiative to form a new alliance within the left. This has recently been formalised by the coming together of the Partido Humanista of Yehude Simon and the Unete front, which is composed of the two old Communist Parties (Partido Comunista del Perú and Patria Roja), Ciudadanos por el Cambio, Fuerza Social and a number of smaller parties and factions. That the Partido Humanista retains its official registration puts it in an influential position in claiming to lead such a coalition, now known as ‘Juntos Perú’.

This group claims to represent a ‘centre-left’ position with both a social and national agenda. According to Gonzalo García Núñez, who claims to be the spokesman of the group, it will now seek to enter negotiations with others (including Mendoza on the left and Julio Guzmán on the centre-right) to create a pact to fight the 2018 municipal and regional elections.

However, since both Mendoza and Guzmán are actively involved in gathering sufficient signatures themselves to register their parties, if successful, they will not need to depend on the Partido Humanista.

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