The financial market was in a state of disarray as Peruvians voted Sunday in one of the country’s most popular elections, with special votes showing the nominees face to face.
Elections are approaching Pedro Castillo, a rural primary school teacher turned left, against Keiko Fujimori, a daughter who was unpopular with former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori. These elections take place at a time of crisis in Peru, where they are dealing with one of the world’s most serious issues, corruption, inequality, poverty and political unrest.
The hope of Castillo’s victory has begun fear and mass exodus among the Peruvian elite. According to Scotiabank, the currency, sol, has fallen slightly against any dollar in the world since the first vote in April, when Castillo first appeared. The dollar-sol index jumped by about 20% in the past month.
A personal survey published on television shows the contestant neck-to-head. Investigations initially gave Castillo adequate guidance but now show that Fujimori has closed the gap.
“For Peru’s sake I believe it’s the truth,” a woman told the Financial Times after casting her vote in the popular Miraflores constituency this purple and erratic morning in the Peruvian capital. “If not, we are lost.”
Castillo’s party, Free Peru, is led by Marxists who are pushing for global prosperity, rising taxes, new laws and restrictions on exports from one of the world’s largest producers of copper, zinc and precious metals.
“The worst outcome can be if no one wins satisfactorily,” says Paula Muñoz, a political scientist at the University of the Pacific in Lima. The lost one may cry in despair and may cause confusion. ”
Last week a group of retired soldiers said they were deeply concerned about the “massive population change”. According to the Ministry of Defense, civilians in some parts of the country are “volunteering to serve as members of the Peruvian military” and in well-to-do Lima people have been storing food in anticipation of elections and possible violence. Armed soldiers were stationed outside the polling station on Sunday morning.
The killing of 16 people in a remote area of Peru on May 23 – the destruction blamed by the remnants of the Maoist army at Shining Path in Peru – has escalated the controversy.
“The air has been poisoned for weeks,” says Enrique Grau, a 38-year-old retailer. “It humiliates us as human beings that we can’t do better than this.”
From success first round by just 18.9%, Castillo has been reviving people in neglected, landless villages in the Andes with a simple but powerful message: “There will be no more poor people in a rich country”.
At his last rally on Thursday, he appeared on the porch of a historic museum in Lima wearing a large grass hat and shooting a large running pencil that carried out his campaign. The hat depicts him as a villager while the pencil is his educational symbol.
“I bring you greetings from the voiceless, the anonymous, who are considered to be the third or fourth citizens,” he shouted to the thousands of listeners following the red flag in the streets below.
“This is what we have been waiting for, for many years,” said 47-year-old Mariela Rojas, shouting at the top of her voice. “Finally we have someone who wants to understand.”
Fujimori’s last meeting outside Lima was greatly reduced. Her bid to become the first female president in Peru’s history has been met with controversy over false accusations. Opponents have accused him of being a ringleader of a gang and sentenced him to 30 years in prison.
Many Peruvians say that although they do not like him and trust him, they voted for Castillo to stay in power. They accused him and his followers of being communists and, in some cases, of terrorists.
“I am voting for Keiko because I do not want my country to be Venezuela or Cuba next,” said María Alejandra Lozada, a 24-year-old law student who came out to greet Fujimori on the north-north path of Trujillo.
The atmosphere was tense as the vote approached. In the final televised debate, Fujimori made a huge rock which he said was thrown at his captors as they campaigned in the Andes and christened Castillo “Pedro the stone-thrower”.
Both groups claim that the other party may be able to steal the election, which is against the law evil behind the plague. This week, Peru has reduced its death toll to more than 70,000 to 180,000, providing the most comprehensive demonstration in the world. The slowdown last year put the economy on the line but hampered the spread of the virus, outrage. Many voters were wearing plastic shields to go to the polls.
While the people of Peru are outraged by all those who want to vote and can stay home after the plague, voting is important in the 32m country.
“I’m tearing up my ballot paper,” one woman told the Financial Times on the eve of the vote. “I just want to clear this path so I can go home safely.”