Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Toledo’s Lead in Peru Not Enough to Avoid Runoff, Polls Say

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A month away from the first round of voting in Peru’s presidential election, former President Alejandro Toledo (2001–2005) leads in the polls. The margin by which he leads, however, is not wide enough to avoid a runoff in which he would likely face Keiko Fujimori, daughter of another former president, Alberto Fujimori (1990–2000), or Luis Castañeda, a former mayor of the city of Lima. The election has attracted only lukewarm enthusiasm from the general public.

Latest polls show Toledo, of the Perú Posible political party, earning 30 percent of the vote, while Fujimori of Fuerza 2011 and Luis Castañeda of Solidaridad Nacional are tied as runners-up, currently projected to earn 19.2 and 19.6 percent of the vote, respectively, on April 10. Although of divergent pasts, the principal candidates share a campaign position of maintaining the current, free-market economic  model, which has led to unprecedented and sustained growth in Peru (8.8 percent in 2010).

The notorious unreliability of polls in Peru notwithstanding, a number of analysts suggest Toledo has the greatest chance of ultimately winning the presidency. Nelson Manrique commented that he has “carried out his campaign the best and has been able to capture the votes of distinct sectors from all over the country.” Recently traveling in Peru’s northern areas, which lack such basic infrastructure and services as roads and hospitals, Toledo has campaigned on the promise of completing the social reforms he began during his first presidency, and has promised higher taxes on the rich and on mining companies’ windfall profits.

For his part, some analysts say, Castañeda is unlikely to repeat at a national level the popularity he earned as Lima mayor, which reached 80 percent. On the other hand, some recent polls show him beating both Toledo and Fujimori in the case of a runoff. And while Fujimori could attract significant votes, she, too, has limitations, relying on a loyal group of voters who would support her no matter what, but unable to win over those who would never vote for her.

Fujimori, for better or worse, is often perceived as carrying out the legacy of her father, who is currently serving a sentence of 25 years in prison for corruption and human rights violations committed during his presidency, but who enjoys great popularity among certain sectors of the population. 

Tags: Alejandro Toledo, Elections, Peru
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