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.
“Voting for Fujimori would be legitimizing the dictatorship,” said Eduardo Leon, a 34-year-old restaurant owner who plans to vote for Kuczynski.
Fujimori slipped in two opinion polls after tens of thousands protested her candidacy on Tuesday. The surveys, by Datum and CPI, showed her back in a statistical tie with Kuczynski.
Both candidates are free-market champions who defeated leftist rivals in a crowded April 10 first-round vote as Peru reinforced the recent trend of South American countries turning away from left-wing policies.