Regional/municipal elections reaffirm party weakness
14 October 2018
The victory of Jorge Muñoz, the Acción Popular candidate in the elections for the mayor of Lima, has been seen by some as evidence of a return to support for Peru’s traditional parties. Such a judgement seems, at the very least, premature.
His victory gainsaid the predictions of almost all the opinion polling companies, even though those published closest to election day put him amongst the top three. In the event, he won 36% of the vote (out of a total of 21 candidates), with a particularly strong showing in Lima’s wealthier districts.
While Muñoz’s achievement comes like manna from heaven for Accion Popular, others of Peru’s more established parties, including Fuerza Popular, APRA, the Partido Popular Cristiano and those of the left, did conspicuously badly. Ever since the time of Fernando Belaunde, AP has done little to capture the public’s imagination.
The low vote for candidates of Fuerza Popular was particularly striking. In Lima, the party’s candidate attracted no more than 2% of the voting public.
If most traditional parties did badly in Lima, they appear to have done worse in regional and municipal elections beyond the capital city. The only party (and it does not really qualify as a ‘traditional’ party) that had a positive showing in a few regions was César Acuña’s Alianza para el Progreso, a clientelistic network based on Acuña’s ownership of a number of regional universities.
Again, the vote for Fuerza Popular was strikingly low. It won no regional governorships and only three provincial and forty-sevent district mayors.
One result, in particular, will be of interest to Newsletter readers: Walter Aduviri was overwhelmingly elected as regional governor for Puno. Aduviri ran his campaign from clandestinity because of the legal charges against him over inciting anti-mining protest in 2011. The so-called aymarazo (he is an Aymaran leader and appeals to the Aymara constituency in Puno) led to the Canadian firm Bear Creek pulling out of the Santa Ana mining project in Puno. Recently absolved by the courts, Aduviri may prove a thorn in the flesh for government attempts to attract mining investment to Puno now that he is governor-in-waiting.
Final results for regional governors will only be known once a second round is held on 9 December. There was no clear winner in twelve regions where no candidate won by more than 30%: Lima, Piura, Arequipa, Cajamarca, Cuzco, Ancash, Huánuco, Apurímac, Amazonas, Tacna, Pasco and Tumbes.