Sunday, June 5, 2011

Growing lead for Humala in Peruvian presidential election (Updated)

Update (6:00 am): Ollanta Humala appears to have won the race for the Peruvian presidency.

The latest figures from Peru's electoral office show that Humala's lead over
Keiko Fujimori has gradually increased. With 90.07% of votes counted the former army general is ahead 51.18% to the congresswoman's 48.82%, a margin of nearly 324,000 votes.

Fujimori has yet to make a public pronunciation since late last night when she said that she might concede "if the official results coincide with the exit polls." (Several exit polls gave Humala the win by a margin of up to 3%).

Humala's possible victory could be chalked up to fear in the Peruvian electorate that electing Fujimori would be a return to the corruption and authoritarianism of the presidency of herAnother factor as mentioned in BBC Mundo may be current president Alan Garcia who beat Humala in the previous election. "Garcia's government maintained the path of economic growth but without more socially inclusive policies," according to the article.

Update (1:00 am): According to the Peruvian electoral office Ollanta Humala's lead over Keiko Fujimori has grown but continues to be slim. With 84.449% of votes counted Humala is ahead 50.7% to 49.3%, a margin of roughly 181,000 votes.

"We will continue what has been good and fix what has gone wrong
," said Humala moments ago as he spoke to hundreds of supporters in one of Lima's main plazas. He added that as president he will fulfill his campaign pledge of giving more economic opportunities to the Peruvian people. "The country will go forward only if the Peruvian family can go forward" said Humala in front of an enthusiastic crowd.

Update (12:30 am): "Everything indicates that we won the elections," declared Ollanta Humala at a press conference that ended moments ago. Humala added that "on July 28th I will assume the presidency of the Peruvian people."

Earlier this evening Peruvian electoral officials announced that
with 78.3% of votes counted Humala led rival Keiko Fujimori 50.087 % to 49.913%. Thus, he held a lead of 0.18% (equaling 20,672 votes) of the over eleven million votes counted.

Election agency chief
Magdalena ChĂș added that most of the counted votes come from Lima and urban centers. This may serve as an advantage to Humala since the remaining votes to be tallied are from rural areas that have mostly supported the former army general.

Update (10:45 pm): Neither of the political parties represented by Humala or Fujimori have a Congressional majority. Regardless of who wins, passing legislation could be problematic unless they woo legislators backed by moderate parties. Assuming Humala wins the presidential election, however, he may have a legislative alliance between his party and the faction led by ex-President Alejandro Toledo.

Original Post: Today Peruvian voters headed to the ballot box in order to choose whether Ollanta Humala or Keiko Fujimori would be the country's next president. Neither the leftist former army general or the conservative congresswoman had a clear advantage in the polls leading up to today's elections. As reported by the website for Peruvian daily La Republica, however, several exit polls have hinted that Humala may be the next successor to current leader Alan Garcia:
Official results should be published over the next few hours, though that hasn't stopped some of Humala's supporters from celebrating his possible victory.

In the weeks leading to today's elections both Humala and Fujimori ran campaigns filled with attacks and scare-mongering. Humala tried to remind Peruvians of the mass corruption and human rights abuses under the presidency of Keiko's father, Alberto. Fujimori tried to link Humala to Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and also claimed that his policies would halt Peru's exceptional economic growth. (That last point was debunked by several financial analysts according to Xinhua).

Image Source - Reuters via BBC News ("On the left and right of the political spectrum - presidential hopefuls Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori.")
Online Sources - The Latin Americanist, La Republica, MSNBC,, Xinhua

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