PPK ahead by a whisker

06 June 2016

The morning after, with 90% of the votes counted, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) had 50.5% of the vote and Keiko Fujimori 49.5%. Victory for PPK seemed unlikely to be reversed as votes come in from the south, abroad and from the more densely populated areas in Lima; these tend to favour PPK. In some places in the south and overseas, the PPK vote has been as high as 70%.

Though very close, the result looks like being a real upset for Fujimori who only a week ago seemed to be on course for victory. It would be the second defeat in a row for Fujimori who was pipped at the post by Ollanta Humala in the second round in 2011. Support from anti-Fujimoristas and the left was crucial in accounting for the shift in opinion this time. The massive public rally against Fujimori on 31 May proved a pivotal moment; all the political forces opposing her coalesced in a determination to do all in their power to block a Fujimori victory. Verónika Mendoza, in particular, gave her support to PPK as the only option against Fujimorismo, urging people in Quechua not to vote for Keiko.

Accusations of Fujimori's connections to drug trafficking and money laundering had also been one of the big issues in the last weeks of the campaign. The Joaquín Ramírez scandal suggested a direct link between the Fujimori campaign and people under investigation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Keiko Fujimori could no longer claim that she had no links to such nefarious activities, or argue that she had turned her back on all those ‘bad apples’ that had characterised her father’s time in office.

Final results are expected late on 6 June, and they will be close. But it now seems probable that Peru’s next president will be the 77-year old Kuczynski.

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