Category Archives: Peru

Peru 2011

A presidential runoff election was held in Peru on June 5, 2011. I covered the first round held April 10 and prior to that had previewed the election with a run-through of Peruvian politics and the presidential contenders. The second round opposed left-wing candidate Ollanta Humala to right-wing populist candidate Keiko Fujimori. Humala, a Quechua and former military officer, was defeated by Peru’s outgoing President Alan García in the 2006 runoff. Fujimori, a congresswoman, is the daughter of former authoritarian President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2001) who is currently serving 25 years in jail for corruption and human rights violations.

The runoff election was a very interesting contest, because it pitted two very polarizing candidates against one another. Mario Vargas Llosa, who never misses an opportunity to get his name out there and make a snide remark, previously said that the runoff was a choice between AIDS and terminal cancer. These two polarizing candidates, who would probably both have lost to more centrist candidates, got into the runoff because the “moderate” vote was split between three candidates and because Humala and Fujimori were the two candidates with the most motivated base. They were also the most polarizing candidates, with over 40% of voters saying they would never vote for either. Such runoffs between negatively polarizing candidates are often quite rare, and runoffs between negatively polarizing candidates who are of roughly equal strength are even rarer. A parallel might be drawn to Chirac-Le Pen in France in 2002, but this runoff had no Le Pen candidate, that is to say a candidate despised by a vast majority of voters. Both Humala and Fujimori were despised by a good lot of voters, but had a solid base of roughly similar size.

Ollanta Humala is a left-wing nationalist candidate. A Quechua (like roughly four in ten Peruvians) and a former military officer, the 48-year old Humala was defeated by current and outgoing President Alan García in the 2006 runoff. That year, Humala ran as a candidate mixing ethnic nationalism with Chavist socialism. Such combination was toxic, and Humala was seen as an insane authoritarian nutcase. This year, Humala toned down both the nationalism and socialism and instead cast himself as the left-wing candidate, promising to expand the fruits of Peru’s 5% economic growth to his native Amerindian base while upholding the market economy and macroeconomic policies which has allowed such strong (but unequal) economic growth. As such, he appeared to be remaking himself from the Peruvian Chávez to the Peruvian Lula.

Keiko Fujimori is widely known for being the daughter of former authoritarian President Alberto Fujimori, an elected autocrat whose neoliberal reforms allowed for strong economic growth and whose security policies eradicated the terrorist Sendero Luminoso organization but at the price of human rights violations, corruption and authoritarianism. As such, she invoked fear for many Peruvians but also appealed to poorer Peruvians who have a fonder memory of her father. Fujimori campaigned as a populist right-winger, which is different from the traditional Latin American right-winger who tends to represent liberal, urban wealthy (and, often, white) middle-class citizens. She promised to be tough on crime, maintain the market economy and expand its fruits to the poorest citizens. Finally, she probably would amnesty her father.

The Humala-Fujimori runoff took the common saying that voters choose the least worst candidate in runoffs to a whole new level. Given that voting is mandatory in Peru, voters had the choose which of the two they disliked the least (if they liked neither). It was an amusing process to watch, though it did not unfold very surprisingly. The right and the business community, which in Peru is largely mestizo and urban, backed Fujimori. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a liberal right-winger who won 18.5% in the first round and Luis Castañeda, a right-wing former Lima mayor who won 9.8% both endorsed Fujimori. The governing APRA did not make any official announcements but by far and large unofficially backed Keiko. The left had already united behind Humala in the first round, but he received the support of those who have reason to hate the Fujimori family the most. This included former President Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006) who won 15.6% in the first round. Aside from being an old opponent of Fujimori, the centrist (or centre-right) former president is also of Amerindian ancestry. Humala also received the reluctant backing of Nobel laureate and 1990 right-wing presidential candidate (defeated by Keiko’s dad) Mario Vargas Llosa, who loathes the Fujimoris. No candidate ran away with a major lead at any point in the nearly two month period which separated both rounds. Humala led narrowly at first, but was overtaken by Keiko in May who had the lead going into the final stretch and final few days. But a string of final polls all gave Humala a narrow lead. It’s hard to say what caused the last-minute turnaround from Keiko to Humala. It might be last-minute fears of authoritarianism and a Fujimorista dynasty. It might be last-minute unease with Keiko’s father. It might also be proof of Peru’s conservative patriarchal society. Keiko was backed quite heavily by women, while Humala was backed by males. Perhaps some women bowed to the patriarchal tradition and changed their voting intentions (the old story of the wife “cancelling” the husband’s vote by voting differently).

The quasi-final results are as follows. There were 5.5% of invalid ballots, up from 2.3% on April 10. That result might reflect a small contingent of protest voters who refused to choose. But blank votes fell from 8.9% to 0.7%.

Ollanta Humala (Gana Perú) 51.48%
Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza 2011) 48.52%

So, Humala won. He was probably the candidate who invoked the least fear about any return to dictatorship or authoritarianism (ironically, he did in 2006). Fujimori invoked fear because she failed to dissociate herself from her closest backers, which were largely old cronies of her father’s regime. She tacked to the right, while Humala managed to move towards the centre and downplay some of his past hard-left talk. Her defeat is probably a relief to many people, Peruvians and foreigners, who dislike her father and consider her to be an apologist for her father’s crimes. Humala’s promises to extend the fruits of prosperity and economic growth to Peru’s poorest also struck a chord in a country where 31% of the country is considered to be living in poverty.

Ollanta Humala received his strongest support in the sierra inland region of Peru, most notably the core of Peru’s Quechua and Aymara peoples who are his strongest backers. He won upwards of 60%, oftentimes over 70%, in most of this inland core region which notably includes the old Inca capital of Cuzco and Lake Titicaca. He also won other inland regions, but with narrower margins. These sparsely populated regions are largely inhabited by other ethnic Amerindian groups.

Keiko Fujimori’s base of support was found in the urban areas of Lima and Callao, where she won roughly 57%. Lima and Callao, which are traditional strongholds of the Peruvian right, are also located in the broader coastal region of Peru (which Keiko won most of) which is mostly populated by wealthier, whiter mestizos who have traditionally dominated Peruvian politics since independence. Her results within the capital city of Lima clearly show that the business sector and upper-classes, very strong backers of right-winger Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the first round, heavily supported her as the least worst candidate. She won, for example, 80% of the vote in the Lima district of San Isidro which is the wealthiest place in the country. Fujimori also performed well on the northern coast, which is not as wealthy but is largely mestizo as well. These regions, most notably La Libertad (which includes the city of Trujillo) are APRA’s traditional strongholds. These regions are traditionally more working-class, with a history of unionized non-Amerindian labour in sugar plantations. She also won the votes of Peruvians abroad, probably largely wealthy businessmen and entrepreneurs, with 70.3%.

Humala would probably not have won if he had not clearly indicated as he did his commitment to the market economy. The pressure is on him to be a Lula as President, and not a Chávez. That pressure is heavy considering how distrustful investors and the market is of him: Lima’s stock exchange fell by over 12% on June 6 (but later recovered most of its loses). Humala has promised a government of national consensus and re-affirmed he would promote investment and the free market. His transition teams includes old names from Toledo’s centrist administration, and Humala might keep Julio Velarde, respected by investors, as head of the Central Bank. It also calms fears that Humala’s coalition has only 47 out of 200 seats and that Toledo’s coalition, which holds 21, will provide a calming force on Humala’s more radical ambitions which include (or included) changing the constitution (of Fujimorista creation). But Humala also speaks at lengths about poverty and social issues. He vows to expand a small cash-transfer program, expand child care and introduce pensions for those who lack them. Such stuff is not controversial and popular. More controversial are his plans for a windfall tax on mining and his prior opposition to the exportation of natural gas. The main cause of unease might be that Humala, unlike Lula, is not a pragmatic trade unionist and old democratic activist. Rather, Humala is a retired military officer who led one military rebellion and backed another led by his insane brother. Such a career and tough talk on crime appeals to the caudillo tradition of Latin America, but serves to scare off easily scared investors, businessmen and liberal elites.

Humala has a fantastic chance to be a successful president, if he can maintain the current high economic growth and combine it with more social equality and expand the fruits of prosperity to those who have yet to see its colour. But the success rate for Peruvian presidents is extremely low, and it seems as if all Presidents of Peru face huge odds to be competent let alone successful.

Peru 2011

Active involvement in a federal electoral campaign, Spanish exam means that Peruvian elections took a bit of a backseat. But at any rate, the first round of general elections were held in Peru on April 10, 2011. I had covered the basics of Peruvian politics and the who’s who of this election in a preview post. Counting is quite slow, but I’m tired of waiting on the ONPE, so here are quasi-final results for the presidential ballot, with 95-98% or so counted. Six other jokers are not included here, none polling over 0.31%.

Ollanta Humala (Gana Perú) 31.74%
Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza 2011) 23.50%
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (Alianza por el Gran Cambio) 18.52%
Alejandro Toledo (Perú Posible) 15.62%
Luis Castañeda (Solidaridad Nacional) 9.84%

Humala and Keiko will fight off in a runoff on June 5. Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, who lost to Keiko’s father in 1990, has described this kind of runoff as a choice between “AIDS and terminal cancer”. His opinion is probably quite reflective of the centre-right, urban middle-classes of Peru who dislike Fujimori’s right-authoritarian-populism and loathe Humala’s left-wing ethnic nationalism.

This fascinating election has had roughly four frontrunners since it kicked off in 2010. First, the race was a straight fight between Keiko and Castañeda with Toledo and Humala placing in distant third or fourth and PPK barely registering. In late 2010, Toledo moved ahead of the field and peaked at 30% support in Februrary while Keiko and Castañeda fought for second. In March, Toledo’s support slid back down to 20% while Humala and PPK began their surge. Castañeda lost speed, while Keiko maintained herself. In the final weeks, Humala surged ahead with Toledo, Keiko and PPK in a virtual tie for second place before Toledo slid further down and Keiko solidified her second place. Castañeda, meanwhile, collapsed. In all of this back-and-forth contest, Keiko was the only candidate to maintain her support. Polling 19-22% in January 2010, she finished at 23.5%. No other candidate maintained his support and either moved up or down by a significant amount. Keiko’s remarkably solid and tight voting base means that she has a very solid base behind her, which isn’t surprising given that she’s a very love-hate figure (like Humala). As noted in my preview post, Keiko had 18% rock-solid support from voters a week ago (the second highest of all candidates) and Humala had a 24% rock-solid base (the highest). But at the same time, Keiko and Humala also have a 40-41% rock-solid base of non-support. This means that the upcoming runoff will be very interesting.

In the final days, it seemed as if PPK moved back up again, likely gobbling up Toledo and Castañeda voters who might have voted strategically to ensure that a ‘moderate’ (PPK, Toledo and Castañeda) made the runoff against the ‘populists’ (Keiko and Humala). It was far from enough, and PPK’s late surge only allowed Toledo and Castañeda to do worse than expected.

Ollanta Humala’s base of support was in the Quechua (and Aymara in parts) heartlands of the inland sierra region of Peru. Humala broke 60% in Cusco and Puno and 50% in surrounding regions of the Quechua heartland. His support is basically an ethnic map, with a vast majority of his voters being Quechua and getting lesser support from other native groups. His support is significantly lower along the whiter and wealthier coastal areas.

Keiko Fujimori’s base is predominantly in northwestern Peru, including the Aprista bastion of La Libertad. She did, however, do well throughout the interior (outside Humala’s Quechua homeland) and did decently in Lima and Callao. Keiko’s fujimorista support seems to be drawn largely from poorer voters, often living inland, but not necessarily from natives. These voters likely have good memories of papa Fujimori who brought them security in regions where the Shining Path rebels wreaked havoc. Her support does not exactly reflect the zones of Shining Path activity, but it is overall a pretty good guide. In the traditionally Aprista-areas of La Libertad and northwestern coastal Peru, her support is probably largely mestizo and drawn, again, from poorer voters who voted for her as the most populist of all candidates against an ethnic left-nationalist (Humala) or centrist/centre-right moderates (the 3 moderates) with whom they likely have little in common.

PPK’s support is overwhelmingly urban, wealthy and by consequence white/mestizo. He did best in Lima and Callao (which he both won) and did well in Arequipa (Peru’s second largest city) and other regions which include a major city. In Lima’s upscale neighborhoods of San Isidro or Miraflores, PPK won roughly 57 to 61% of the vote. He also did well with overseas voters, who always tend to be wealthier than the broader electorate. He also did very well (45%) in Barranco, Lima’s bohemian neighborhood.

Toledo won Loreto, the largest but extremely sparsely populated region in the middle of the jungle. It was won by Humala in 2006, and is largely indigenous but the natives are not Quechua stock (a linguistic map shows that they’re mostly Huitoto-Bora). Toledo was active as an opponent of the 2009 attempt to sell land in the Amazon for oil exploration (which, if you remember, led to the deaths of natives and a few soldiers). Toledo, who is himself of Quechua Ancash ancestry, also did well in his native coastal region of Ancash and other places here and there in northern Peru.

Castañeda broke 20% in his native Lambayeque and 10% in four other regions including Lima and Callao.

Rafael Belaúnde Aubry, the son of former President Belaúnde won 0.08%.

The 2006 runoff was pretty bad as it was for Peru’s unlucky middle-class right-wingers. They got to choose between Humala and a failed ex-president who went on to win. But García was pretty moderate and most stomached voting for him pretty well. But in June, people of the Vargas Llosa type (Vargas Llosa himself said he could vote Humala, but never for Keiko), will have to choose between two candidates they probably strongly dislike. It is likely that Keiko will have a slight edge with the business community. Humala will, as in 2006, gobble up much of the inland votes and poll extremely strongly in the Quechua homeland.

Ipsos-Apoyo showed, last week, that a Keiko-Humala runoff was tied 42-42. Unlike in the 2006 runoff, where García always had an edge overall, it is really tough to say who of these two will prevail in June. It won’t depend on turnout because voting is mandatory in Peru, but if a lot of voters cast blank ballots in protest, it could have the same effect as weird turnout has in other elections. Toledo himself seems to have endorsed Humala, while PPK has said that nobody has contacted him though Keiko says that she would like an alliance with him. Given that both candidates have over 50% of voters saying that they would never or probably wouldn’t vote for them, both have ceilings but in such a weird runoffs it remains to be seen if that means anything. Humala’s ceiling was quite low in 2006 when he was seen as the Chavist ultra-nationalist nut. But Humala acting as the Peruvian version of Lula “peace and love” (some claim Humala’s campaign is financed by the PT) might mean that he has a higher ceiling. It will be an amusing and interesting runoff contest, and certainly something which I can’t personally predict.

Congressional results are not fully counted yet, but El Comercio has these results thus far:

Gana Perú 24.7% winning 46 seats
Fuerza 2011 23% winning 38 seats
Perú Posible 14.9% winning 21 seats
Alianza por el Gran Cambio 14.8% winning 12 seats
Solidaridad Nacional 10.3% winning 9 seats
APRA 6.3% winning 4 seats

Humala’s gang is roughly at their 2006 levels (46 seats) and APRA loses 32 of their 36 2006 seats. The Fujimoris had 13 or so seats in 2006, while Toledo’s gang had 2 back then. Congressional results are pretty worthless overall and can’t be compared to anything. Their outcome often mirrors, more or less, the presidential election and the ephemeral coalitions of the day. But it does mean, again, that no president will have a majority with only his coalition, though if individual members are like Brazilian congressmen, they can be bought at discount. The Congress would matter most if Humala won, given that he wishes to change the constitution (which is currently the 1993 Fujimori document).

The Andean Parliament probably will split 2 for Humala’s gang, and one seat each for Fuerza 2011, Peru Posible and PPK’s grouping.

Election Preview: Peru 2011

Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held in Peru on April 10, 2011 with a runoff on June 5. While nobody was watching, a very interested contest has developed in the presidential election which makes this election one of the most interesting of 2011 to date. Peruvian politics move very quickly and are hard to understand thanks, in part, to the less-than-useless party labels. In this preview post, I try to offer a brief synopsis of the main events in Peruvian politics since 1980 and then a concise overview of the main parties and actors in this contest.

How it works

The President of Peru is elected for a five-year term and cannot serve two consecutive terms in office. He is elected under the traditional two-round system.

The Congress of Peru is unicameral with 120 members. There are 25 electoral districts corresponding to the regions of Peru. Each district elects between one (Madre de Dios) and 35 congresscritters (Lima). In reality, Lima has by far the most members given that no other region elects more than 7 and most elect between 2 and 3. From what I’ve figured out, there is a minimum of three candidates per party in each district and voters vote for individuals who are ordered on party lists. I gather that the individual with most overall votes win the first seat, the second individual most voted of all lists wins the second and so forth. Wikipedia’s article on the 2006 elections has an easy table of which coalitions won how many seats in each district. Details of 2006 results can be found on the government’s ONPE page.

Peru’s five seats (and ten substitutes) in the Andean Parliament. Each party list has fifteen candidates, and it seems as if the five top vote-getters overall are elected and the next ten are elected as substitutes.

Peru since 1980: A Brief Political History

I said that I wanted to begin in 1980, but a good overview of Peruvian political history must begin in 1924 and jump around to the 1960s. In 1924, while Peru was under the rule of right-wing populist strongman Augusto B. Leguía, a socialist thinker and exiled intellectual by the name of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA). APRA’s five-point plan of 1926 inclued opposition to Yankee imperialism, Latin American unity, nationalization of lands and corporations, internationalization of the Panama Canal and solidarity with oppressed peoples throughout the world. The APRA, which has become Peru’s most enduring party and perhaps one of the only true political parties in Peru, is an interesting beast. As can be seen from the five-point plan, APRA had aspirations to create a pan-continental political party and did inspire parties such as the MNR in Bolivia or the PLN in Costa Rica. APRA is either known as such or under its more official name, the Partido Aprista Peruano. APRA’s strongman, Haya de la Torre, ran for President in 1931, 1962 and 1963 and won in 1962 – before the military informed him that they didn’t feel like having him as President. APRA only won the 1985 and 2006 presidential elections.

Fast track to 1968. In 1968, the military under General Juan Velasco staged a coup and seized power from elected President Fernando Belaúnde Terry. Belaúnde, elected in 1963, represented the aspirations of the Peruvian middle-class and was the moderate reformist – similar to Frei in Chile – standing in the middle against conservatism and socialism (APRA). As every Peruvian President has done, he screwed up. Land reform ended up being for show thanks to conservative and Aprista opposition. In 1968, he signed a deal with the International Petroleum Corporation (IPC) which sparked nationalist fires and led to the military stepping in. In this regard, the Peruvian military’s actions in 1968 stand out from the rest of South America. In Brazil, Argentina and later Chile they seized power from leftist actors whom they perceived as threats to stability and their interests. In Peru, they acted autonomously from Washington or conservative interests. They adopted not neoliberalism but the dependency theory. Finally, they had genuine sympathy with the plight of the peasantry. Velasco proceeded to major agrarian reform which created peasant cooperatives and had killed off the old agrarian landowning elite by the mid 1970s. Velasco’s government supported top-down corporatist mobilization of workers and peasants in a way reminiscient not of Allende or Castro but rather the PRI in Mexico or Perón 1.0 (1946-1950). Velasco also encouraged worker ownership of industry and nationalization of foreign firms. But economic woes, plus domestic resistance, forced Velasco out in 1975. His successor dismantled his programs, imposed IMF prescribed austerity and set the ground for a civilian president in 1980 with the 1978 election of a Constituent Assembly.

In 1980, with 44.9%, the winner was Fernando Belaúnde of the Popular Action. The APRA’s Armando Villanueva took 27%. Fernando Belaúnde supported progress through public works but also promised economic liberalization, private investment and supported private enterprise. But Peru was hurt by the 1981-1983 recession, the near-default of Mexico in 1982 and El Nino. The economy neared collapse in 1983 and came through only thanks to austerity programs which heightened social tensions. On top of economic dislocation, guerrilla activity with the neo-Maoist Shining Path and the Marxist-Leninist MRTA increased in the 1980s and forced Belaúnde to authorize military repression. The drug trade also became a serious issue.

Fernando Belaúnde managed to serve his term. In 1985, APRA’s populist, charismatic and forceful orator Alan García was elected by a large margin by the first round. With APRA majorities in both houses, García undertook a risky economic policy. He increased wages, cut payroll and sales taxes, cut interest rates, froze prices and devalued the currency. A boom in consumer spending proved short lived and was followed by a default on Peru’s foreign debt. Collapse followed as the trade deficit mushroomed, leading to social tensions and investors fleeing. An economic shock program in 1988 was a disaster and inflation was 7500% in 1990. By all accounts, García’s tenure was an absolute disaster.

Recent Nobel Prize laureate and world-famous writer Mario Vargas Llosa was the original frontrunner in the 1990 campaign. Vargas Llosa, supported by most political parties, supported a neoliberal solution to the economic crisis. However, Vargas Llosa was probably too elitist and intellectual to win, and he fell victim to dark horse candidate Alberto Fujimori, an obscure agrarian engineer and university rector of Japanese descent. Fujimori ran as the candidate of a self-made political vehicle named Cambio 90 and was your traditional populist anti-establishment candidate against the liberal elitist Vargas Llosa. Vargas Llosa led 33-29 in the first round, but lost 62-38 in the runoff.

Fujimori proceeded to implement and go further than most of Vargas Llosa’s program. Though relaxation of price controls, spending cuts, privatizations, liberalization of investment and import laws and simplification of tariffs, the Fujishock was able to restore fiscal stability to Peru albeit at the price of social tension. With IMF and foreign support, Peru’s economy boasted impressive growth in 1994-1995. In September 1992, the military captured Sendero leader Abimael Guzmán and generally eliminate terrorism.

Annoyed with an opposition-dominated Congress, Fujimori staged a self-coup on April 5, 1992 and shut down Congress. In 1993, with a Fujimorista-dominated Constituent Assembly, he drafted a new constitution which allowed him to run again in 1995. Taking 64%, Fujimori easily defeated former UN Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. By 2000, Peru had become an illiberal democracy with relatively free (but not fair) elections in a country marked by systematic human rights violations.

In April 2000, Fujimori was able to run again on the excuse that it would be his second term since the adoption of the new constitution in 1993. Although he controlled the media, institutions and public resources; Fujimori was reelected narrowly (and probably would have lost a fully free/fair election) against upstart candidate Alejandro Toledo, an American-educated business professor. Fujimori got 49.9% against 40.2% for Toledo in the first round, but Toledo  boycotted the runoff which saw Fujimori reelected – although with only 51% of votes cast with 30% invalid votes.

Fujimori collapsed quickly. In September 2000, a viral video showing his intelligence boss bribing a congressman exploded. Fujimori announced he would call elections – in which he would not run – in April 2001. In November 2001, while abroad in Japan, Fujimori faxed his resignation which was rejected by Congress which proceeded to impeach him. Fujimori would later be found guilty of a whole host of crimes upon his 2007 return to Peru.

The 2001 elections were won by Alejandro Toledo, though he defeated disgraced former President Alan García only 53-47 in the runoff. Toledo was generally successful, managing to restore democracy to Peru and maintaining economic stability. Most Peruvians in 2006, however, would disagree with me in that he had the approval rating of smallpox upon leaving office.

The 2006 elections saw a divided first round. Ollanta Humala, on which I’ll come back to later, won 30.6% in the first round. Originally thought to be certain to face Humala, the right-wing Lourdes Flores of National Unity (UN) took third with 23.8% while APRA’s Alan García took 24.3%. Alan García won the runoff against Humala 52.6-47.4.

To Alan García’s credit, his second term wasn’t a trainwreck. Peru’s GDP growth is roughly 5%, one of the highest in Latin America. Poverty has fallen to roughly 35% from 50% or so in 2004. Social indicators are improving. Peru has been helped by a boom in the price of Peru’s mineral exports (silver, copper, zinc and gold) and a continuation of Fujimori’s fiscal policies. But García and APRA seem to be more interested in pork-barrel spending rather than social programs. Corruption is rampant – García’s Prime Minister was forced out in 2008 because of it, and crime is increasing. A 2009 dispute between natives and Petroperu over exploitation of oil reserves killed 22 soldiers and 30 natives. Again, García has paltry approvals of 25% or so.

The Candidates

The original frontrunners were both from the right. One of them is still a frontrunner, the other not so much.

On one hand, you have Keiko Fujimori – the 35 year old or so congresswoman-daughter of Alberto Fujimori running as the candidate of the latest in Fujimori parties – an outfit called “Fuerza 2011”. Fujimori remains popular with poorer Peruvians as the man who restored peace and stability. Keiko, who seems to be a hate-love figure, clearly positions herself as the Fujimorista candidate of order and stability. Her style is some sort of right-wing populism uncommon to the Latin American right, which tends to be far more urban and elitist. She talks about poverty, crime and equality – and not so much about pardoning Daddy.

On the other hand is former Lima mayor Luis Castañeda Lossio of the social conservative National Solidarity Alliance. Castañeda seems to fit the mold of the Latin American right-winger quite well, talking about the economy and reform. His polling numbers have dropped as another upstart candidate surged: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) is a former Prime Minister, a former finance minister (both under Toledo) and even a mining minister under Belaúnde. Campaigning on sound economic management, Kuczynski has surged from 2% support to 18% (and back down to 16-17%). He is pretty much the candidate of the young urban middle-classes.

Rounding out the centre is Alejandro Toledo, who surged miles ahead in February-March but has since come down to the 17-20% range. Toledo of course supports the current liberal economic makeup of things, but got press when he declared his support for gay rights and civil unions in socially conservative Peru. His numbers fell victim to PPK’s surge and rumours of alcoholism and drug use which he denies.

Ethnic issues have played a major role in Peruvian politics and history. 45% of Peruvians are Amerindians, largely Quechua with some Aymara. 37% or so are mestizos of mixed European-native stock. Shockingly, mestizos have been the traditionally elite of Peruvian politics although Toledo is an Amerindian himself. Which brings me to Ollanta Humala, who ran and lost narrowly in 2006. Humala, an Amerindian, is a former army colonel who led an attempted coup against Fujimori but was later pardoned for it. Humala has the support of the Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP) which mixes pride in Peru’s native/Amerindian/Quechua identity with good ol’ nationalism (which inevitably includes piling abuse on Chile). Humala lost in 2006 partly because he was seen as an insane authoritarian nationalist nutcase and as the Chávez candidate. But unlike Chávez, Humala’s socialism is doubtful although his nationalism certainly isn’t. Since then, he has taken the Lula-2002 route, which consists of making people forget you were a mean old bitter man four years ago but instead you’re now a moderate, nice, sane man. He talks about a “national market economy” and some toned down economic nationalist anti-neoliberal rhetoric. But investors obviously aren’t convinced.

As the maps of 2006 show, Humala dominated the sierra and montaña regions (the Andes and the jungle, basically) while Garcia support was generally concentrated along the coast, notably in Lima/Callao and Trujillo. The inland regions have a high proportion of Amerindians, while the coastal regions tend to be more mestizo and European in culture. Lima itself tends to support the right, although it elected its first left-wing mayor in a long time in 2010, while Callao is on the left. La Libertad Region, around Trujillo, is an APRA stronghold held together these days by little less than tribal loyalty for Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre in his home region. The whole north coast, however, has also seen good APRA support in sugar plantations. It will be interesting to see where APRA’s tribal base goes, but also what emerges as the bases of support for people like Keiko or Toledo. Keiko seems to be competing with Humala for the rural, poor (and thus native) vote. Toledo seems to have support spread out quite equally. The race in Lima, where PPK is likely far ahead, will be interesting.

Parliamentary elections will undoubtedly resemble the presidential race as in 2006. The largest coalition – not by a lot – will probably be Humala’s Gana Perú with Keiko’s Fuerza 2011 in second. Recent polling places Toledo’s Perú Posible coalition in third. PPK’s Alianza por el Gran Cambio and Castañeda’s Solidaridad Nacional run slightly below their candidate’s numbers. APRA, which has no presidential candidate, is polling under 10%. Peruvian parties except for APRA are all one or two-election political machines for a candidate and they often die out or are bought by another guy. They also have funny names.

Presidential polling has this to say, on average:

Humala: 25.1%-28.7%
Fujimori: 17.8%-20.5%
Toledo: 16.7%-22.0%
Kuczynski: 15.6%-18.5%
Castañeda: 10.1%-14.0%

The latest two polls out have a Humala-Keiko fight in the runoff, others have a Humala-Toledo duel. A Humala-Keiko fight would be amusing, a nightmare for some. In the latest runoff polling for Ipsos-Apoyo, Castañeda would win all runoffs, but he won’t make any. Toledo would beat Keiko 43-41 and Humala 44-40. A Humala-Keiko fight is tied 42-42. PPK would lose all runoffs, including 41-43 against Humala and 38-41.

Humala, however, has a definite ceiling and is an extremely polarizing figure. His locked-in support at 24% is the highest of all candidates. 46% overall would either vote or consider voting for him. However, a full 41% would never vote for him and 9% probably wouldn’t. Keiko, similarly, has 40% alienated from her and overall only 43% overall would vote or probably vote for her.

Poll crosstabs are also fun. The highest-class (Class A) gives PPK 52% and Toledo 24% (his highest support). Humala has 6% and Keiko 3% with these wealthies. The poorest (Class E) give 31% to Humala (class D is 33% for him) and 26% for Keiko (her highest) Only 16% for Toledo and 8% for PPK here. In Lima, PPK has 20% with Humala/Keiko tied at 19% and 15% for Toledo/Castañeda. Humala has 29% support in the interior, with Toledo and Keiko tied at 18% in the same region.

Ipsos-Apoyo had a good record in 2006, overall. It slightly overestimated right-winger Flores at García’s expense but Humala’s support was predicted correctly.