In Peru’s last presidential election former leader Alan Garcia won in a tight race against populist candidate Ollanta Humala. Another contentious election is expected this April with a group of candidates is vying to succeed Garcia. One of them is ex-president Alejandro Toledo and he has touted his credentials as a social progressive candidate. The results so far have been mixed.
In a speech on Thursday Toledo reportedly said that he would consider decriminalizing certain forms of drug use if ejected president. "Depenalizing is an alternative that must be looked at," he said according to Reuters and he warned that Peru could become a “narco-state” unless corruption is stopped.
Toledo's conservative rivals blasted his comments; Keiko Fujimori, congresswoman and daughter of disgraced jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori, claimed that “legalizing drugs would mean the end of society.” Meanwhile, Justice Minister Rosario Fernandez said that decriminalizing “only leads to greater support for narcotrafficking.”
The resulting political firestorm caused Toledo to attempt to clarify his "misinterpreted" comments to the Peruvian press this morning. He noted that a U.N. panel of former South American presidents are studying the effects of decriminalizing drug use and he added that he “fully condemns the consumption of drugs”:
A recant poll indicated that a plurality of voters back Toledo but only by a slim margin ahead of Fujimori and ex-Lima mayor Luis Castaneda. All three have promised to follow current economic policies that have spurred growth and investment. On social issues each candidate has tried to differentiate themselves from each other; for instance, Toledo recently said that he would back same-sex marriage if elected. They do coincide on a few points, however, such as Toledo and Keiko backing abortion in the case that the mother is raped.
Video Source- La Republica via YouTube
Online Sources- Reuters, Wikipedia, Bloomberg, Gayopolis, Peru21, La Republica, RPP