Deepening of divides within Fuerza Popular

11 June 2017

With the end of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s first year in government fast approaching, the divisions within the opposition Fujimoristas again became apparent last week.

The Fuerza Popular (FP) party still controls Congress, although its number of seats has fallen from 73 to 72 following the early expulsion of Yeni Vilcatoma. But it is suffering internal divisions. Last week, the protagonist of the latest scuffle was Patricia Donayre, representative for Loreto who had been given the job of coming up with proposals for a law on electoral reform.

Last month she had clashed with Héctor Becerril, a key figure in the Fujimorista bloc, by indicating she was against business financing of electoral campaigns. Donayre proposed there should be limits on campaign finance, greater scrutiny and more state involvement.

On 8 June she stormed out of the meeting of the Constitutional Commission accusing its president, Miguel Torres, of “following directions of his boss” in refusing to allow her report to be discussed in a commission meeting. As she attempted to speak, she found her microphone turned off twice. Visibly annoyed, she left the committee proceedings and aired her feelings to the press instead.

Initially most assumed “the boss” in question was Keiko Fujimori, but it soon emerged that she was talking about Ana Vega, an advisor to Keiko. Vega, it is claimed, wields enormous power in Keiko’s inner circle, the two having been close ever since the 1990s. Fujimoristas who tend to side with the faction led by Kenji Fujimori (Keiko’s brother), such as Carlos Raffo, claim that Vega was the main reason why older, more long-established Fujimoristas were left out of electoral lists for Congress.

Donayre, who seems to have fallen out big time with Keiko, claims that some 20 members of Congress had privately backed her, but that only Kenji Fujimori had done so publicly. “There were 20 parliamentary colleagues who backed me,” she says, “but they kept quiet out of fear.” A new round in the battle for power between the Fujimori siblings?

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