Peru: Scandal-plagued Peru to vote on reshaping political system | The Guardian

Peruvians vote on Sunday in a referendum that could empower a sweeping overhaul of the country’s judiciary and a loathed political class following a string of scandals that have laid bare the corruption at the heart of Peru’s public institutions. The referendum comes at the end of a year of hitherto unimaginable political upsets beginning when the president Pedro Pablo Kuczysnki was forced to resign over corruption allegations in March and followed by the jailing in November of his principal adversary, the powerful opposition leader Keiko Fujimori. Four former Peruvian presidents are now under investigation for taking bribes from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht, which has admitted to paying out $30m in Peru – just a fraction of the estimated $800m the firm has admitted to handing out as kickbacks across Latin America, making it the continent’s biggest-ever corruption scandal.

Peru: Keiko Fujimori concedes defeat to Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in Peru election | The Guardian

Five days after Peru’s presidential election, the daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori has conceded defeat, putting an end to an agonising wait for results in one of the most closely contested votes in the country’s history. Keiko Fujimori, the frontrunner throughout the campaign, said on Friday that she accepted “democratically” the electoral body’s results which indicated her rival, the conservative economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had won by a hair’s breadth: The margin of victory was 42,597 votes out of more than 17m ballots cast. Flanked by members of her political party, Fuerza Popular, Fujimori blamed her defeat on the outgoing government, business leaders and the media, who she said had backed a campaign which “sought and awoke hatred and fanaticism, feelings which resent democracy”.

Peru: The fortunate president | The Economist

It could hardly have been closer. As the final votes were counted in the run-off ballot for Peru’s presidency, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a liberal economist, seemed to have defeated Keiko Fujimori by just 39,000 out of almost 18m votes, a margin of 0.2%. After months in which Ms Fujimori had led opinion polls, this was a surprising reversal. It shows how deeply divided Peru is about the legacy of Ms Fujimori’s father, Alberto, who ruled it as an autocrat from 1990 to 2000; he is serving long prison terms for corruption and complicity in human-rights abuses. With such a narrow mandate, Mr Kuczynski’s first task when he takes office on July 28th will be to show that he can govern a country facing an economic slowdown and characterised by frequent social conflicts. It helps that he has few real policy differences with Ms Fujimori.

Peru: Patience wears thin as Peru vote count drags on | Associated Press

Patience was wearing thin as ballots in Peru’s presidential election continued to trickle in on Wednesday, three days after a contest whose results remained too close to call. Front-runner Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s running mate met Wednesday with electoral authorities to request they speed up the counting. Meanwhile, dozens of supporters of his rival Keiko Fujimori held a demonstration Tuesday night outside the electoral board to denounce what they said is fraud, even though neither the candidate nor her campaign have presented any evidence to back up their supporters’ claims. Electoral officials said they hope to wrap up their work on Thursday when the last ballots cast at embassies abroad arrive in Lima. But most experts said it’s already mathematically impossible for Fujimori to make up the 42,000 vote difference separating her from Kuczynski.

Peru: With Election So Close, Results May Not Be Known for Days | Wall Street Journal

Peruvian presidential candidates Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Keiko Fujimori settled in for a photo finish as election officials slowly counted the final ballots to determine the outcome of one of the tightest races ever here. When the result will be final, however, is uncertain as an electoral board will need to rule on disputed ballots that could decide the close election, and as votes trickle in from rural areas and expatriates elsewhere. “That’s the million-dollar question,” Fernando Tuesta, a political analyst and former head of Peru’s election agency, said when asked how long it would take. “There isn’t a date for that.” On Tuesday, the election agency said Mr. Kuczynski, an economist, was leading with 50.17% of the votes, compared with 49.83% for Ms. Fujimori, the daughter of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori. The agency said it had processed 98.7% of the votes. However, that didn’t include some votes that were disputed by the political parties and sent to the electoral board. The margin between the two candidates stood at about 47,000 votes. About 22 million Peruvians were registered to vote; the agency said 17.8 million had cast ballots.

Peru: Election comes down to last few votes | Financial Times

Peru’s presidential election hung in the balance late on Monday, with the economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski holding a narrow lead over Keiko Fujimori, daughter of a disgraced former president. With 95.36 per cent of votes counted, Mr Kuczynski was marginally ahead with 50.2 per cent, while Ms Fujimori was on 49.8 per cent. In an election where 17m Peruvians cast ballots, Mr Kuczynski’s lead was a little over 59,000 votes. But given the remoteness of some parts of Peru, as well as votes coming from overseas, the final result could be delayed until later this week. Ms Fujimori has lost a lead over the past week that had been as high as 8 percentage points after Mr Kuczynski ran a campaign focused on her father Alberto Fujimori. The once autocratic president is now serving time in prison for crimes against humanity.

Peru: Peru to vote on returning a Fujimori to presidential palace | Reuters

Less than a decade after Peru imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, voters will decide on Sunday whether to put his 41-year-old daughter back in the presidential palace where she once served as his first lady. Keiko Fujimori has a slight lead over her rival, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, ahead of the run-off vote, helped by her tough stance on crime and years of campaigning in poor villages in the populist style of her right-wing father. But with pollster Ipsos estimating a fifth of voters tend to remain undecided until election day, Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former investment banker, could stage a late surge. It is Fujimori’s second bid to become Peru’s first female president. Her critics fear a return to the days when her father ruled the Andean nation by decree, despite her repeated promises to respect the democratic institutions he trampled before his government collapsed in a vast corruption scandal in 2000. Alberto Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, is serving a 25-year sentence for graft and human rights abuses committed during a crackdown on a bloody leftist insurgency.

Peru: Thousands Protest Over Keiko Fujimori’s Presidential Candidacy | International Business Times

Thousands took to the streets of Peru Tuesday to protest the presidential candidacy of Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. The former president is currently in prison for authorizing death squads and corruption during his decade in power between 1990 and 2000. Incumbent President Ollanta Humala is ineligible for elections this year due to constitutional term limitations. This leaves the candidacy to Fujimori, 41, and pro-business conservative and former World Bank economist, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Kuczynski was expected to join the protests but canceled the plan in a last-minute decision. Reuters reported Kuczynski as stating that it would be “undemocratic” for him to join calls to stop Fujimori.

Peru: OAS: Peru’s Electoral System Needs Deep Reforms for Democracy | teleSUR

Peru’s election, wrought with allegations of fraud and the questionable application of campaign rules that shrouded the final weeks before voting day in uncertainty, has garnered a stern report from observers, who have called for deep reforms to the country’s electoral system, local media reported Tuesday. The Organization of American States mission found that Sunday’s general elections were threatened by political insecurity for voters brought on by the last-minute disqualifications and lasting uncertainty about who would be on the ballot up to 48 hours before polls open. The mission called for an overhaul of the disqualifications system, arguing that in its current form, electoral authorities are not able to guarantee the political rights of voters or candidates.

Peru: Keiko Fujimori and former finance minister appear headed for a runoff in presidential race | Los Angeles Times

Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, and former Finance Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski appeared headed for a June runoff to determine the winner of Peru’s presidential race, partial election results indicated Monday. Keiko Fujimori received 39.5% of the votes cast in Sunday’s election, while Kuczynski received 22.1%, with more than two-thirds of the ballots counted, according to Peru’s electoral commission, known by its Spanish initials ONPE. About 83% of the first-round ballots were counted by late Monday, officials said. Kuczynski’s lead over candidate Veronika Mendoza, a socialist member of Congress who had about 18% of the vote, looked to be enough to ensure him the runoff spot against Fujimori on June 5, analysts said. A winning candidate needed 50% of votes plus one to avoid the second round.

Peru: Election goes to run-off, Fujimori vulnerable despite lead | Reuters

Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a jailed former president, led Peru’s election on Sunday but she likely faces a tight run-off against centrist economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a vote that would protect the country’s free-market economic model. Fujimori, whose father Alberto was Peru’s authoritarian leader throughout the 1990s, fell well short of the 50 percent needed for outright victory in the first round of voting and will likely be vulnerable in a second-round vote on June 5. With about 40 percent of votes counted, Fujimori had 39 percent support while Kuczynski, a former World Bank economist, had 24 percent and leftist lawmaker Veronika Mendoza trailed with 17 percent. A quick-count by pollster Ipsos also showed Kuczynski securing second place and heading to the run-off. Despite her lead on Sunday, polls have shown opposition to Fujimori has grown since the start of the year and many opposed to her father’s divisive rule will likely rally behind her rival, whether Kuczynski or Mendoza.

Peru: A dangerous farce | The Economist

Football fans are familiar with the occasional match in which the referee changes the course of the game by mistakenly sending off players and awarding a dubious penalty or two. Peruvians are discovering, to their bemusement, that the referee can determine who wins in politics, too. On April 10th they will go to the polls to choose a new president. Two names, those of Julio Guzmán and César Acuña, will not be on the ballot, although polls promised them almost a quarter of the vote between them. However, barely a month before the election and after weeks of legal gyrations, the electoral authority disqualified them. Mr Guzmán, who had a good chance of reaching and winning the probable run-off ballot and thus becoming president, was thrown out because the small party which had adopted him changed its procedure for choosing its candidate without informing the electoral authorities beforehand. Mr Acuña was expelled for handing out a total of around $4,400 during a couple of campaign stops.

Peru: Thousands protest against presidential bid by daughter of corrupt former Peru leader | The Guardian

The statue of José de San Martín astride a horse in the plaza named after the South American liberation hero in downtown Lima has seen a lot of protests. But a march against the presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori on Tuesday was probably the biggest since the end of her father’s decade-long rule in 2000. At least 30,000 people joined the march, on the 24th anniversary of the infamous “self-coup”, or “auto-golpe”, when her father Alberto Fujimori dissolved congress, assumed extraordinary powers and sent tanks and soldiers onto the streets. Alberto Fujimori, who led Peru between 1990 and 2000, was jailed for 25 years in 2009 for directing death squads, embezzlement and bribing the media to smear his opponents. Five years earlier, he had been listed as No 7 in a list of top 10 corrupt leaders in Transparency International’s Global Corruption Report. Peruvians vote on Sunday in presidential elections and Keiko Fujimori is currently the frontrunner, with polls showing her with more than 40% of the vote. But Tuesday’s march suggested she may yet face defeat if the vote goes to a second round.

Peru: Anti-Fujimori protest erupt days ahead of elections | Reuters

Tens of thousands of Peruvians marched against presidential front-runner Keiko Fujimori Tuesday on the anniversary of her authoritarian father’s most infamous power grab – forcing her to suspend campaign events ahead of Sunday’s elections. Protesters chanted “Never again!” and said a vote for center-right Fujimori would be a vote for ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is now serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1990-2000 government. At least 30,000 took part in the protest in Lima – a sign of the stiff opposition to Fujimori that could make her vulnerable to defeat in a run-off. Fujimori is expected to win the biggest share of votes on April 10 but not the simple majority needed to win outright.

Peru: Half of candidates out of chaotic Peru election | AFP

Half of the candidates in Peru’s presidential election have abandoned or been banned from next week’s polls and one of the leading contenders may follow, plunging the South American country into political uncertainty. An electoral law in force since January has ruled several candidates out of the running in the April 10 contest. One is even running his campaign from a jail cell. And further disruption could come if accusations of vote-buying lead to the elimination of banker and economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who is running second in the polls to the conservative Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Peru’s jailed ex-leader Alberto Fujimori. Their faces are already printed on 20 million ballot papers, but they have each been accused of handing out money or gifts to voters during their campaigns. The new law passed in January cracks down on such activities.

Peru: Small political parties scramble to survive | Peru Reports

Peru’s smaller political parties continue to drop out of 2016 elections to avoid losing their legal registration for not garnering the minimum elections threshold. A new law establishing a tougher elections threshold cancels the legal status of political parties which do not obtain 5% of the national vote in 2016 elections. The new standard which took effect this year is prompting Peru’s smaller political parties, some of which are headed by high-profile veterans, are withdrawing their candidates from the ballot. Remaining a political party registered with the JNE electoral supervisory carries significant value, or at least being unregistered is a fatal punishment. If a party is unlisted, it has to go through the entire registration process from scratch. Of all the legal paperwork and hurdles, the most difficult requirement is collecting signatures from 3% of the country’s voters, which in 2011 amounted to 493,992. The new law allows parties to abstain from participating in one election cycle without losing its inscription. So the parties performing poorly in the polls are opting to sit out in 2016 in order to regroup for the next election season, as opposed to taking their chances now with an insurmountable downside.

Peru: Electoral board opens inquiry into Kuczynski | Reuters

A lower electoral board in Peru said Wednesday it was opening a formal inquiry into whether presidential hopeful Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the chief rival of front-runner Keiko Fujimori, broke a new law against vote buying. If electoral authorities find the center-right candidate improperly bought beer and liquor for an Andean town, as alleged by opponents he would be barred from April 10 elections. Analysts said the board would likely keep Kuczynski in the race, especially after the same lower electoral board cleared Fujimori of similar allegations. The country’s five-member National Jury of Elections is expected to hand down a final ruling on Fujimori this week to settle an appeal.

Peru: Electoral court keeps Fujimori in presidential race | Reuters

The frontrunner to win Peru’s presidential election next month, Keiko Fujimori, has been given the go-ahead to stay in the race after vote-buying accusations were rejected by a court, a decision that will likely infuriate opponents and do little to calm a hotly disputed contest. An electoral court found on Thursday that the centre-right candidate had not broken a new law against the distribution of cash and gifts by candidates who are campaigning. The election in the metals exporter is due to take place on April 10, with a run-off in June if there is no outright winner, but has been thrown into disarray amid a barrage of citizen petitions to bar candidates over the breaking of electoral rules. The allegation against Fujimori, the daughter of disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori, related to an event she presided over where cash prizes were distributed to the winners of a breakdancing competition.

Peru: Peru Evades Electoral Chaos as Front-Runner Stays in Race – Bloomberg Business

Keiko Fujimori, the front-runner in Peru’s presidential election, was cleared of trying to buy votes, saving the election from slipping into farce after two other leading candidates were barred and another accused of irregularities. Fujimori didn’t offer or hand out money or gifts in exchange for votes, government news agency Andina reported, citing a ruling by the Lima Centro 1 electoral board. The ruling follows allegations she participated in a ceremony where a member of her Fuerza Popular party gave prize money to the winners of a dance contest. Fujimori has had at least 30 percent support in polls for the past two years and disqualifying her would have thrown the election wide open barely two weeks before the April 10 vote. The electoral board already excluded two of Fujimori’s rivals this month. Moreover, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the second-placed candidate, was accused this week of breaking the country’s new vote-buying rules.

Peru: Still unclear whether Guzman can run for president | Reuters

Peru’s electoral board on Tuesday left the question of whether “outsider” presidential hopeful Julio Guzman – now seen as the biggest threat to front-runner Keiko Fujimori – will be able to participate in April elections. Guzman has rapidly risen to second place, but allegations that his centrist party failed to comply with technical electoral rules last year threaten to upend his bid. In an ambiguous statement, the National Jury of Elections reaffirmed its previous move to bar the registration of Guzman’s party, but said a separate electoral body would determine if Guzman can run for president. Several lawyers said the board’s decision would likely force the Special Jury of Elections to reject Guzman as a presidential candidate. Others said the constitutional right to participate in elections should trump any relatively minor violations.

Peru: Electronic voting used for first time in Peruvian elections | Peru this Week

In Sunday´s elections, voters in the Lima district of Cañete used an electronic voting system that proved efficient. According to statements given to Andina, participants took only 30 seconds to complete the entire voting process. It is simple and efficient, allowing the results to be released more quickly. The head of the ONPE (Office of Electoral Processes) told Andina that Pacarán, Cañete is an example of the future of voting in Peru: “We congratulate the population of Pacarán that participated in this day of democracy: using new technologies, such as the electronic vote, allows the voting process to be more secure and flexible, today showed us that we can use technological innovations that the world is currently using.”

Ecuador: Observation Missions in Peru and Ecuador Extolled Efficiency and Progress in Electoral Processes |

During the Council session, held at OAS headquarters, the Organization’s Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza, remarked that “the electoral process in all of our countries is increasingly more normal and increasingly more transparent,” making special reference to the elections in Peru and Ecuador, and added that the OAS is “very proud to be a part of this process, in which more and more people want to participate.”

According to the report, the EOM that followed the second round of general elections in Peru was composed of 73 observers, 21 from Member States and 7 from Observer States, deployed throughout the Peruvian territory. The report indicates that the observation work was based on a sample designed to collect significant data about voter behavior.

In his presentation, the Chief of Mission, Ambassador Dante Caputo, asserted that “it is very difficult to write the account of this second round because things went very well in Peru,” while highlighting the normalcy of the conditions during the elections. “I cannot tell you about any incidents or violent acts or abnormalities because, simply, they did not happen,” he said, concluding that “electoral democracy is evolving and Peru is a good example of what Latin America is doing in this field.”

Peru: Accusations and acrimony as Peruvians go the polls | The Independent

Bitterly divided, and with the hand of history weighing uneasily on their shoulders, the people of Peru went to the polls yesterday to select a new President. The race is too close to call and, regardless of the outcome, seems likely to result in an acrimonious recount and allegations of voter fraud.

The election required voters to make what observers called an “unhappy choice” between two polarising figures from opposite ends of the political spectrum. Both candidates devoted recent weeks to explaining away scandalous episodes from their past, and convincing the nation that they won’t pursue an extremist agenda.