Alberto Fujimori’s Shadow Hangs Over Peru’s Presidential Election

Alberto Fujimori’s Shadow Hangs Over Peru’s Presidential Election
Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, of the "Fuerza Popular" political party, during her closing presidential campaign rally, Lima, Peru, Thursday, June 2, 2016 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

LIMA, Peru—As Peruvian voters head to the polls this Sunday to elect a new president, many will be thinking of former President Alberto Fujimori, who governed from 1990 to 2000 and is now imprisoned in Lima for crimes ranging from corruption to authorizing death squad killings. Reviled by some Peruvians and admired by others, Fujimori has a polemical but powerful political legacy here, where his daughter Keiko is the front-runner in the presidential race, his son Kenji was recently re-elected to the Peruvian Congress, and a political movement he created won a majority in the Congress during the first round of voting on April 10.

On June 5, voters will choose between 41-year-old Keiko Fujimori, a former congresswoman with an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School, and 77-year-old Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former finance minister, World Bank economist and investment banker. The unusual matchup is the result of a tumultuous first round of voting in which Fujimori, who Peruvian’s simply call Keiko, won nearly 40 percent of votes and Kuczynski, popularly known as PPK, came in second among 10 candidates with 21 percent. Peruvian law prohibits the incumbent, President Ollanta Humala, from seeking a consecutive term in office and requires a second round of voting for the top two presidential candidates if no one receives more than 50 percent in the first round.

Though he has been a leading political figure since his unsuccessful run for president in 2011, Kuczynski barely made it into the second round, beating leftist congresswoman Veronika Mendoza by just two percentage points. Kuczynski benefitted from a March 4 decision by the Special Electoral Jury that declared two strong candidates, Julio Guzman and Cesar Acuna, ineligible to run, due to a technical error in Guzman’s case and vote buying in Acuna’s.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.