Campaign for Lima mayor gets under way

24 June 2018

Last week saw the official start of the campaign, which will conclude in October, to see who replaces Luis Castañeda Lossio as mayor of Lima. No fewer than 21 candidates lined up at the starting line. This shows, as if proof were needed, the fragmentation of politics in Peru and the absence of strong parties. Of the 21 hopefuls, only two are from parties for which they have been candidates before.

Judging by the names of the parties, electors may be justifiably confused by the proliferation of similar-sounding labels, many evoking the nation: Vamos Perú, Perú Patria Segura, Somos Perú, Perú Nación, Juntos por el Perú, Podemos Perú, Unión por el Perú, Perú Libertario etc.

There are some glaring omissions from the line-up, such as APRA which has decided not to take part, but other well-established parties are there: Fuerza Popular, Acción Popular, the Partido Popular Cristiano (PPC) and the Frente Amplio. There are also one or two names that may resonate: the son of Castañeda Lossio, for example, and even a former Lima mayor (Ricardo Belmont) whose election back in 1989 presaged the collapse of established parties and the advent of media politics.

As the tussle develops, it is likely that some candidates may fall by the wayside as they consider the costs of campaigning as against the chances of victory.

Although few mayors of Lima have made it into the bigger league of national politics (Luis Bedoya Reyes for the PPC was perhaps an exception) the post is nonetheless an important one. Apart from the president, he or she (with one exception this time the candidates are all he’s) is the second most-voted public figure in the country. And the budget managed by the municipality of Lima is far from trivial, much greater than anywhere else in the country.

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