Ollante Humala and his fellow candidates Omar Chehade and Marisol Espinoza celebrate the election results with the Peruvian flag in the center of Lima. Photo by Pilar Olivares, Reuters.
After early results were made public, Ollante Humala’s supporters took to the streets to celebrate the future president’s victory. Photo by Pilar Olivares, Reuters.
Humala Won the Peruvian Presidential Election According to All Exit Polls
The nationalist, with a three-point advantage over Keiko Fujimori, announced that he intends to form a unity government. The first offician results also put the candidate in front. His candidacy benefited from news of forced sterilizations of women during the reign of his populist opponent’s father.
El País: Humala gana las presidenciales, según todos los recuentos provisionales de votos
Fernando Gualdoni reporting from Lima June 6, 2011
The nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala has won the Peruvian presidential election according to almost all exit polls. The numbers are 51.5% for the candidate of Gana Perú and 48.5% for the populist Fuerza 2011 candidate Keiko Fujimori. Humala last night looked to become the country’s 101st governor since it achieved independence in 1821. The nationalist had ample victories the Andean and jungle regions, those less favored by economic growth, and made significant gains in the coast. Keiko Fujimori, for her part, won the majority in the capital city of Lima, El Callao, and some northern regions. The first analyses indicated that the scandalous forced sterilizations of indigenous women during the Alberto Fujimori government greatly damaged his daughter’s candidacy.
The official electoral office, with 84.4% of votes counted, also gave the advantage to Humala at 50.7% of votes against 49.29% for Keiko Fujimori. The results are only for Lima and the great cities, and do not yet include the totals from the vast rural region where Humala is the favorite by far. In any case, the rapid count by polling companies is a reliable enough barometer: it consists of checking 50 votes from each voting booth. The official count, which is being released incompletely at the moment, is not reliable until it is 100% finished because the early results come from the regions that calculate votes first, not from the most representative areas.
After the first rapid counts, Fujimori seemed to give up on the elections, as she left the hotel where she’d spent the electoral season with her campaign team and returned home. Meanwhile, Humala, in his first announcement, said that he would form a “national unity government representative of democratic forces and open to civil society”. The nationalist candidate proclaimed that economic growth would be the great motor of social inclusion that Peruvians yearn for and mandated at the ballot box.”
Soon after, he appeared before thousands of followers at the May 2nd Plaza in the center of Lima, where Humala responded to chants of “Yes we can” with “Clearly, we can”. The nationalist leader promised “to fight mercilessly against corruption and the corrupt.” In Peru, he declared, “there is silver, and we have to manage it responsibly and use it to end inequality,” he informed Efe. “We will make sure the state is present throughout the country’s territory, particularly in the poorest villages; I personally will go make sure the government is functioning there.”
But Humala made it clear that “governing is not the job of only one person,” and so he promised to call on “the best technical, independent, and intellectual leaders” to make a unity government, a broad-based government in which no one will feel excluded and all will be represented.”
The week had begun with both candidates’ condemnation of the narco-guerrilla organization Shining Path’s strike against a military patrol in Cuzco on the eve of the election. Five soldiers died, and others were injured. The ambush reminded Peru how fragile it still is in the fight against drug trafficking and gave both presidential candidates the opportunity to remind voters that they had promised to reinforce the fight against crime. “It was an act of terrorism, a crime against all Peruvians,” declared the daughter of the ex-president, who himself is in prison for crimes against humanity. Keiko spoke from her home during the traditional breakfast of the candidates with their families.
The attack of Cuzco and the latent social conflict in Puno centered the news cameras’ focus on various places in the Andean region. That was where the week’s conflicts were located, from the lack of personnel or material to open some voting booths to accusations of fraud. In the home stretch of the campaign, the zone reflected the more grave problem of the lack of state institutions in many mountain and jungle areas and the social conflicts this absence generated.
Yesterday was the second anniversary of the worst social uprising in the recent history of the country. The indigenous people’s protest against regulation of forest and farmland use in northern Bagua (Amazonas) ended with a pitched battle with the police that left 33 dead. There are about 230 active or latent social conflicts ongoing in Peru, and half of them involve the environment or indigenous communities. The majority have been violent and damaged the regions that have already seen very little of the country’s economic bonanza over the last decade which, paradoxically, is owed in great part to the mineral resources found in the mountains and jungle.
The two candidates declared that they were conscious of the challenges awaiting the president who takes over on July 28 and both left the door open to governing agreements with other powers. Neither of their two political parties will have a majority of Congress. Ollanta Humala said that the tension and division provoked by the electoral campaign would have to end immediately. “Peru cannot wait. We have an economy that is advancing, and we have to put our children through school…” The nationalist, much more at peace than when he ran for the office for the first time in 2006, appeared at breakfast together with his wife, three sons, two daughters, and a 5-month old baby.
Conscious that his past as a radical leftist would disquiet the conservative and middle classes of a country that has generated much wealth in recent years thanks to a free market economy, last May Humala endorsed the Peruvian National Agreement, a forum created by President Alejandro Toledo’s reign that binds the signer to maintain a series of state policies guaranteeing civil liberties. Humala also published a letter to the Peruvian people in which he promised to maintain the market economy and respect private property. The document is identical to the one Lula used in Brazil in 2002 to overcome the reticence of businessmen after two failed presidential campaigns of his own.
Voting Goes Smoothly
Both Toledo and the departing president, Alan García, celebrated the normality of the elections and asked the next government to maintain the growth policies which have created jobs and reduced poverty. “We all know whom I’ve voted for,” said Toledo in reference to his support for Humala, “But I want everyone to know it isn’t a blank check, and I will remain attentive and denounce any maneuver that puts the democracy in danger.”
García, of the historic Aprista party which has fallen into disgrace, called for unity after the elections and assured the winner would have all his support. The national movement accused García of favoring Fujimori’s daughter during the campaign.