Voters don’t want no one to win: Peru goes to the polls on April 11

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'They played with the wrong generation': how young people turned politics in Peru



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Blanca Cagua, a 25-year-old nurse, is also unimpressed with the country’s 18 presidential candidates.

“All they have done is fight each other, we expect them to show that they are capable of moving the country forward during this pandemic,” she told CNN .

On April 11, Peruvians are expected to choose the country’s fifth president in just four years, as he rose from Latin America’s highest coronavirus death rate per capita.

But years of corruption scandals have left voters disgusted with the political class and seemingly unimpressed by the range of candidates which includes career politicians, an eccentric ultra-conservative businessman and a former football player of the United States. ‘National team.

Voting is compulsory, but more than a quarter of respondents intend to leave their vote blank, do not know who they will vote for or choose any of the candidates, according to an opinion poll released on April 4 by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) for the Peruvian newspaper La Republica.

This is a higher proportion than those who intend to vote for any of the individual candidates.

“Among this group, there is a group which is baffled, but there is another group, I would say the majority, which is upset and tired, indignant at the current political choices which are not close to their expectations”, Hernán Chaparro , a professor of media and public opinion at the University of Lima, told CNN.

None of the candidates having voted more than 10%, according to the IEP, anything could happen.

Such a fragmented field means the top two candidates will likely end up in a second ballot on June 6, before a winner is sworn in on July 28.

'They played with the wrong generation': how young people turned politics in Peru

Candidates who qualify for the second round typically receive much higher levels of support, according to Chaparro, who said this year’s low voter enthusiasm for any candidate is unprecedented.

The top four contenders, according to the IEP, have only 8-10% popularity, with Keiko Fujimori and Hernando de Soto tied for first place at 9.8%.

Fujimori, a right-wing conservative who has vowed to focus on security issues, is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. First elected in 1990, he fled the country in 2000 amid allegations of corruption.

Finally found guilty in several criminal trials, the 82-year-old is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations. A humanitarian pardon granted to the former president was overturned by Peru’s Supreme Court in 2019.

His daughter Keiko has been the subject of a long-standing corruption investigation and prosecutors recently asked the court for a 30-year prison sentence on charges related to organized crime and money laundering. She denied the allegations.

Hernando De Soto (C) is a well-known economist known for his work on the informal economy.Hernando De Soto (C) is a well-known economist known for his work on the informal economy.

De Soto, 79, is a prominent economist operating on a centrist ticket who served as an advisor for Keiko’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Most candidates are difficult to place on the traditional left-right political spectrum, and the field is rife with populist proposals.

Another candidate, former Congressman Yonhy Lescano of the Popular Action Party, who polled 8.2%, is an economically progressive but socially conservative populist.

Also in the mix is ​​ultra-conservative Rafael López Aliaga, who polled 8.4%, a member of the conservative Catholic organization Opus Dei who adopted the nickname “Uncle Porky” because of his resemblance to the character of the Looney Tunes cartoon series.

The presidential election is expected to take place on June 6.The presidential election is expected to take place on June 6.

Then there is former national team football player George Forsyth, who stepped down as mayor of La Victoria district in Lima to run for president; and Veronika Mendoza, a 40-year-old left-wing psychologist from the Andean city of Cuzco who failed to reach the second round of the 2016 elections.

Peru's interim president resigns after just five daysPeru's interim president resigns after just five days

Peruvians will also vote for 130 seats in Congress, with 20 different parties fielding candidates.

“The parties remain fragile,” Denisse Rodriguez-Olivari, a Peruvian political scientist at Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, told CNN. “They are born, they grow up in an election and then they die, so they are quite ephemeral. ”

Since the last elections, Peru has been in the throes of political instability, with a string of presidents at odds with a restless Congress made up of a large number of small political groups, with nine parties making up the current Congress.

Acting President Manuel Merino resigned following mass protests in November 2020.Acting President Manuel Merino resigned following mass protests in November 2020.

The country’s unstable political system collapsed dramatically in November 2020, when the country saw a succession of three presidents in just over a week.

The First Congress voted to impeach former President Martin Vizcarra, who presented himself as an anti-corruption crusader, following corruption allegations. Vizcarra has denied the allegations.

His replacement, Manuel Merino, resigned after just five days in the post under pressure from mass protests. Congressman Francisco Sagasti has served as interim president since then.

The image of Peruvian politicians suffered another blow in February when it emerged that members of the elite had secretly received China’s Sinopharm vaccine months before the country’s vaccination rollout began, with Vizcarra and his wife among them.

Vizcarra said he and his wife were vaccinated as part of the Sinopharm clinical trial, although the university that was conducting the trial denied they were volunteers.

Peru has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.Peru has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Vacunagate, as the scandal became known, combines voter concerns about corruption and handling the coronavirus pandemic.

The country has recorded more than 1.6 million cases and more than 53,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Four of the current presidential candidates have tested positive for Covid-19 during the campaign.

'A Chronicle of the Announced Scandal': Vaccine Fury Highlights a Long History of Misconduct by Elected Officials in Peru'A Chronicle of the Announced Scandal': Vaccine Fury Highlights a Long History of Misconduct by Elected Officials in Peru

The country’s ICU units and oxygen availability are at breaking point, but elections continue with health precautionary measures such as additional polling stations and extended voting hours to reduce overcrowding.

The final winner will have to face the terrible economic fallout from the pandemic.

Peru’s GDP fell 11.1 percent in 2020 from the previous year, according to the International Monetary Fund, and the country has struggled to maintain consistent levels of economic growth since 2013, according to Bank data. global.

But many Peruvians are tired of political machinations.

“The truth is they weren’t able to convince us,” Carlos Cabezas Silvano told CNN. The 21-year-old will vote for the presidency for the first time, but says he will submit a blank vote, which will not count for any of the candidates, in protest.

“We need a balanced leader who can keep his promises. We can’t trust anyone. ”

Journalist Andy Ortiz contributed reporting from Lima.

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