In Peru’s ‘Chaotic’ Presidential Elections, It’s a Race for Second Place

In Peru’s ‘Chaotic’ Presidential Elections, It’s a Race for Second Place
A protest against presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori and the 1992 coup by her father, former President Alberto Fujimori, Lima, Peru, April 5, 2016 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

On Sunday, Peruvians will head to the polls to elect a new president and 130 members of Congress. But in a campaign season that has been fraught with controversy, few are likely to be satisfied with the results.

Peru's presidential campaign season began with a field of 19 candidates. By last Sunday evening's debates, it had narrowed to 10. Among them were the daughter of a former president now in jail; two former presidents-one of whom was involved in a drug-trafficking scandal; and a candidate that's running from a jail cell.

Described as “crazy” and “chaotic” by some in the press, the election cycle has been filled with controversy and painful reminders of the not-so-distant past. A new electoral law, allegations of vote-buying and controversial decisions about the status of some candidates by the country's electoral judicial body have resulted in protests and charges of politicization. Days ago, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States, Luis Almagro, warned that Peru could be heading toward “semi-democratic” elections.

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