Sibling rivalry among the Fujimorists muddies the political waters

10 July 2017

The rift between Keiko and Kenji Fujimori has continued to widen. Their relationship has suffered ever since last year’s presidential campaign when Kenji, Keiko’s younger brother, announced he would run in 2021 in the remote case (as it seemed at the time) that his sister did not win in 2016. He also notoriously did not vote in the second round and has since then tended to follow his own council in Congress, supporting causes that in Fuerza Popular (FP) are far from the party line such as gay and lesbian rights.

Kenji has closer ties with traditionalist FP legislators from the provinces, cultivating his own support outside the circle controlled by Keiko and her ring of close advisors.

But the issue that has divided the two most is that of their father, Alberto Fujimori. Two months ago, Keiko blocked an initiative in Congress that might have led to the liberation of the former president. Kenji is now trying to engineer a deal with the government by which his father would receive a presidential pardon.

Many media analysts have been praising this as they think it might open the way to a political solution making the country more governable. They speculate that if those that support Kenji in Congress split from those who back Keiko, the latter would no longer have an absolute majority thus making it easier to govern.

In an interview two weeks ago, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said that it was time to talk about a pardon for Fujimori. This would have brought him closer to the Fujimorista camp, especially Kenji.

Last week Keiko proposed a meeting with Kuczynski under the auspices of Luis Bedoya Reyes, elder statesman and founder of the Partido Popular Cristiano (PPC). Kuczynski accepted the offer, but said no mediation was necessary and that any agreement should be submitted to the Acuerdo Nacional, a supra-party institution designed to foster democratic governability. Keiko accepted the offer and the meeting was due to take place on 11 July.

A large march took place in Lima on 7 July in opposition to any pardon for Fujimori. The following day Kuczynski announced that he did not actually mean a pardon for Fujimori, but a “medical exemption”. He suggested that an assessment of the former president’s health would be made by the end of the year by top medical professionals.

He also said that the issue of any pardon for Fujimori would not be among the issues to be discussed in his meeting with Keiko.


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