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This Week in Latin America: A Close Vote in Peru

Peru picks a president in second-round voting. Plus: elections in Mexico, women's rights protests in Brazil, and more.
keiko fujimori
Keiko Fujimori
Congreso de la República del Perú (flickr), October 8, 2010

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Peru Votes: Peru will choose a new president Sunday in a close runoff election between two center-right candidates. In an Ipsos poll released on May 29, first-round winner Keiko Fujimori held a six-point advantage over her business-friendly challenger Pedro Pablo Kucyznski. However, Kuczynski may yet get a boost after leftist politician Verónika Mendoza, who finished third in April’s first round with over 18 percent of the votes, indicated that she would vote for himover Fujimori. Kucyznski has lost ground since April, facing criticism over a week-long trip abroad. Meanwhile, Fujimori has confronted attacks on her 50 percent absentee voting record in Congress, as well as new allegations of money laundering.

Mexico Elections: Local elections in Mexico will take place on June 5 with 1,425 posts up for grabs, including 60 of the 100 deputy slots in an upcoming constitutional assembly for Mexico City and governorships in 12 states. Polls suggest the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) will win gubernatorial races in at least eight states, though key races in Tamaulipas andVeracruz remain uncertain. The elections will also be an important test for independent candidates, who have only been allowed to run since constitutional changes were made in 2012. Many observers have criticized the elections, pointing to fears of corruption and the infiltration of organized crime. 

Women's Rights Protests: Brazil’s interim president has pledged to form a federal police unit to tackle violence against women after a teenage girl was allegedly gang raped by more than 30 men and a graphic video related to the incident was posted on Twitter. Two arrests in the case have been made, though the victim has said she has no faith in the justice system. Large demonstrations have since occurred in several cities over what many view as a sexist culture in Brazil, where a woman is raped every 11 minutes by some estimates. The public outrage comes as neighboring Argentina prepares to mark the one-year anniversary this Friday of the massive #NiUnaMenos (“Not One Less”) demonstrations against gender violence with another round of nationwide events.

Colombia-ELN Talks Delayed: Peace talks between Colombia and the left-wing guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN), which some expected to begin in May, have been derailed by the rebels’ kidnapping of three journalists. The journalists were released Friday after less than a week in captivity, but President Juan Manuel Santos has now said the government will "not start negotiations until the ELN swears off kidnappings and frees all those it holds." The kidnapping was criticized by Colombia’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in a sign that its own peace negotiations are on track with the government. With the FARC expected to finalize a peace deal in coming months, Congress is now preparing for a June vote on a constitutional amendment that would protect the peace accord from being undone or altered by future governments.

Economy in Brief

The Copa América soccer tournament kicks off in the U.S. on Friday; around 2 million fans are expected to attend.

Argentina's president announced a tax amnesty on an estimated $500 billion hidden abroad to pay pensioners and fund an infrastructure program. 

Chile's unemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent this quarter, lower than expected.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.
Tags: This Week in Latin America, Peru, Mexico

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