Cusco goes to a second round

16 November 2014

Cusco is one of the many regions of Peru where a second round of elections for regional president is due on December 7. And it is sadly typical of the political situation which prevails in much of Peru.

In the first round in October, voters were faced with a bewildering array of candidates – 13 in all – each keen to take advantage of one of Peru’s biggest cornucopia budgets. The gas canon, a transfer from central government derived from production at Camisea, means that the money at the disposition of the regional government is among Peru’s largest. The canon system provides huge incentives for would-be politicians to get their hands on the honeypot.

The range of candidates made it virtually impossible for any one of them to get to the 50% plus one needed to win outright. For their part, parties of the left ignored calls for unity of action, seeking individual alliances with other campaigns.

The two contenders for the second round both have faced serious accusations of corruption in the past. They include EdWIN (sic) Licona, an apparatchick of previous administrations, and a former mayor of Urubamba province, Benecio Flores. Both appear to have spent massively on publicity and propaganda to achieve election. Licona uses as his symbol the chullo, the traditional woolly hat worn by campesinos in this part of Peru. Flores uses a football inscribed with the name ‘Apu’. Apus are the spiritual leaders of indigenous communities.

Whatever the result, it looks improbable that the quality of governance will improve over the next four-year period. New snouts in the trough maybe, but ones eager to take advantage of the fiscal resources on offer.

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