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The six candidates that could go to the second round in the 2021 Elections in Peru. Photo by AS Peru.
The six candidates that could go to the second round in the 2021 Elections in Peru. Photo: AS Peru.

Technical tie on the eve of the 2021 Elections in Peru

The latest polls agree that there is a technical tie between six of the candidates in the elections, none of them would exceed 15% of the vote. 

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This Sunday, in the midst of the biggest social and health crisis, Peru will vote for the president for the next five years. After a year of enormous political turmoil, after four presidents during the last five years, with the focus on resolving the critical situation in which the coronavirus pandemic leaves the country, the panorama is more fragmented than ever, which would lead to a second round on June 6. With many Peruvians tired of politics, the race is one of the most unpredictable in years.

The latest polls on voting intentions show that the Peruvian presidential candidates are in a technical tie for the first six positions. None of these candidates obtains even 15% of votes, and the distance between the first and the sixth place is less than 4%. 

As of this week, the six candidates that according to official polls indicate that they may go to a second round, although the order may vary, are: Verónika Mendoza for Juntos por el Perú, Hernando de Soto of the Avanza País party, George Forsyth of the Victoria Nacional party, Yonhy Lescano of Acción Popular, Keiko Fujimori of the Fuerza Popular party, and Rafael López Aliaga of the Renovación Popular party.

Yonhy Lescano, 62 years old, has been leading in the polls in recent months. A legislator who projects an image of a man of the people and a socially conservative man. In his proposals he has promised to renegotiate a fairer distribution of mining wealth, lower the price of gas, create a state airline and pressure private banks to lower interest rates.

Verónika Mendoza, 40, represents the moderate left, and has been rising in recent polls. An anthropologist from Cusco, she has worked in an indigenous research center and in human rights. Among her proposals she speaks of revising tax exemptions for large companies and creating a wealth tax for the super rich, which makes some businessmen and power groups look at her with suspicion. On the health emergency she has proposed taking temporary control of the production and supply of medical oxygen, due to shortages in the midst of the pandemic.

Keiko Fujimori, 45, is the daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori, convicted of human rights violations and corruption.  Keiko Fujimori is under investigation for a money laundering case and for having received 1.2 million dollars from the Brazilian company Odebrecht, for which prosecutors are asking for a 31-year prison sentence. This is the third time she is running for election. A conservative, free-market politician, she proposes to unblock mining projects to boost the economy, and has promised to create 2 million jobs by building schools, medical centers and roads.

Hernando De Soto, a 79-year-old conservative economist, proposes to continue with an expansive fiscal and monetary policy to help reactivate the economy and has spoken in favor of border controls against "foreign criminals". On the health emergency, he has mentioned supporting private companies to help accelerate Peru's COVID-19 vaccination program. "Private community sectors and NGOs are going to compete with each other to give the best vaccines," he told local television. However, in late March, De Soto admitted that he had traveled to the United States to get vaccinated against COVID-19. In the past he supported Keiko Fujimori's candidacy.

Candidate George Forsyth is a former goalkeeper for the national soccer team, was leading in the polls last year, but has fallen in recent months after the debates. A 38-year-old former mayor of a Lima district, he has promised to reduce bureaucracy in the mining sector and create a mining "trust fund" to help bolster royalties paid by companies to the state. He has also pledged to reform Peru's pension system and improve health coverage for senior citizens.

Rafael López Aliaga, 60, is a hotel and railroad magnate and an ultra-conservative member of Opus Dei. In interviews he has reaffirmed his socially conservative credentials, such as opposition to abortion and gay marriage.  Candidate López Aliaga has campaigned on promises to streamline government, lower gas prices and expel the Brazilian company Odebrecht, under investigation in the region for corruption, from the country.

Urpi Torrado, CEO of pollster DATUM, stated that "nothing has been said in Peru. The next president of Peru will have 10% of the votes and will face a fragmented congress, therefore, political turbulence will continue. It is a statistical tie that has never been seen before in Peru's history. We have had ties in other elections, but never between six candidates, let alone that 3 days before the elections it is not defined who comes in first place". 

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