Peru's Presidential Elections: The Results

07 June 2011

On June 5 Peruvians returned to the ballot box for the second-round of the 2011 presidential elections. In the running were Ollanta Humala, a left-of-centre candidate and former army officer, and Keiko Fujimori, the highly conservative daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori (1990 – 2000). With just over 94% of votes counted, Ollanta Humala has emerged as the victor, gaining 51.6% of all valid votes cast.

Humala won in all but six of the 25 departments of Peru and, as in the first round, his support was concentrated in the poorest and most indigenous parts of the country (i.e. the south and central Andes and the jungle). In Puno, a province in the southern Andean region which has seen extensive protest activity against extractives in recent weeks, Humala won almost 80% of the vote. He also won in Cajamarca, a province which had voted for Fujimori in the first round, and in the jungle province of Loreto. His victory there was in large part attributable to the support of former President Alejandro Toledo (2001 – 2006), who won the region in the first round vote before backing Humala in the second.

Though Fujimori was ultimately unsuccessful in her presidential bid she still managed to poll some 48.4% of the national vote. Support for her campaign was strongest in Lima, and the surrounding provinces, where her pledges for continuity in economic policy gained support among the affluent middle-classes. With the exception of Cajamarca, she largely retained or expanded her support base in northern Peru. Her candidacy also received the backing of over 70% of the Peruvian diaspora. However, given the limited number of votes cast from abroad this group’s support was not sufficient to make a material difference to the Fujimori campaign.

Humala’s victory was undeniably narrow. He polled only approximately 500,000 more votes nationwide than his rival. It nevertheless represented a marked turn around in his fortunes since late May when poll results put him as much as 6 points behind Fujimori. It appears his eventual victory owed much to an erosion of support for Fujimori in the last few days of campaigning, resulting largely from renewed scrutiny of her party members and political advisors.

By her own admission, around one fifth of Fujimori’s congressional candidates had served under the corrupt and authoritarian administration of Alberto Fujimori. Many had, at the very least, highly questionable backgrounds and variously faced allegations of involvement in corruption, money-laundering and human rights abuses. The campaign ‘Fujimori: Never Again’, led by local NGOs and co-ordinated very effectively through social media, focused on the above concerns, as well as the issue of the forced sterilisations of an estimated 100,000 women under her father. This campaign, along with a widely disseminated letter signed by over 50 intellectuals warning of the dangers of a return to fujimorismo, undoubtedly had a negative impact on her popularity. For the majority of the undecided electorate, such concerns apparently surmounted lingering doubts they had about Humala.

By Monday June 6 Fujimori had conceded defeat to Humala, who has pledged to form a national unity government. Humala was also congratulated by heads of state from neighbouring countries, including Chile. The markets however, reacted badly to the result, pushing down the share index on the Lima Stock Exchange and undercutting Peru’s currency, the Nuevo Sol.

On June 7 Humala’s Gana Perú party announced the 20-member transition team who are likely to comprise the new administration’s key figures. The list includes, amongst others:

Luis Alberto Arias Minaya – former director of SUNAT (the Peruvian tax authorities)

Kurt Burneo – former vice minister of the economy and president of the national bank

Humberto Campodónico – associate researcher at DESCO (Development Promotion and Study Centre)

Óscar Dancourt – former president of the central reserve bank

Jaime Delgado – former president of ASPEC (the Peruvian consumers association)

Javier Iguiñiz – head of the economics department at prestigious Lima-based university PUCP

Ricardo Giesecke – former vice minister for energy and former head of the climate change unit

Carlos Herrera Descalzi – former minister for energy and mines

Salomón Lerner Ghitis – former finance manager at the national bank

Álvaro Vidal Rivadeneyra – former health minister

Daniel Schydlowsky – former president of the development bank COFIDE

Carlos Paredes – director of Arequipa’s chamber of commerce

Alberto Adrianzén – member of the Andean parliament

Upon assuming office the new administration will face a number of significant challenges, most notably the need to reconcile community concerns over extractive projects with the desire to continue high rates of economic growth.

For a fuller discussion of these challenges, and of the election results, we invite you to attend our panel discussion in the UK parliament on 22nd June. Please see below for more information.

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  • PSG Aims

    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

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    Human rights violations were widespread during the twenty years after the initiation of armed conflict in 1980. Efforts to convict perpetrators since the war's end have made only limited progress. Today, concerns remain over the treatment of those engaged in social protest, particularly against strategically important investment projects.

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