Julio Guzmán was in the UK last week, speaking at both Oxford University’s Latin American Centre and at the London School of Economics.
Guzmán gained public notoriety as a candidate in the 2016 presidential elections who was forced out of the race in the midst of the campaign over a technical obstacle to his party’s running. Had he continued in the race, the eventual result might well have been different. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski certainly benefited from Guzmán’s withdrawal.
Guzmán accepted the decision of the electoral court with good grace, perhaps with an eye to his longer-term plan to contest the 2021 elections. He now appears to have managed to gather together enough signatures to validate his political party, the Partido Morado.
Addressing students in Oxford, he stressed the need for Peru to adopt a different development paradigm, pointing to the deficiencies in the model of extractive-led growth. In particular he underlined the need for Peru to diversify its economy away from natural-resource commodities towards sectors providing much greater value-added. He also stressed the importance of improving education and raising levels of productivity within the economy.
The Partido Morado (the Purple Party) styles itself as a centre-left grouping. Guzmán has spent much of this year touring Peru and gathering together the signatures required to avoid being side-lined a second time.
Perhaps fearing the challenge of new parties like the Partido Morado and Nuevo Perú, APRA’s congressman, Mauricio Mulder, recently introduced draft legislation which, if approved, would create further barriers to new parties entering the electoral fray.