Peru 25/04/11

New survey reveals election favorite whilst the country celebrates Holy Week in style. New reforms in the school system expected.

Latest results released post the general election on the 10 April by Ipsos Apoyo reveal that presidential candidate Ollanta Humala is in the lead with forty-two percent of the nation’s votes, leaving Keiko Fujimori with thirty-six percent. The inquest to establish public opinion in the run up to the second count in June gathered information from both rural and urban areas across the country including votes from all twenty-three departments and over one-hundred and forty districts.

 

This survey not only suggests the direction in which the election is headed but also defines the loyalties of each region, with Humala claiming more regions (North, South and Central Peru), whilst Fujimori holds the most populated district of Lima. Ten per cent of the population remains undecided according to the survey released by Ipsos Apoyo.

Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian winner of the Nobel Literature Prize 2010 and renowned political pundit has warned Peruvians that voting for Keiko Fujimori would be a “grave mistake”. In his political column in El Pais, Vargas Llosa stated that both Fujimori and Humala represent a threat to Peru’s democracy and economic development. He further implied that under Fujimori’s leadership, the country would be plunged into a dictatorship like her father’s, where corruption and abuse of the legal system would be rife.

Vargas Llosa fears that Peruvians may have forgotten the pilfering of public resources under Alberto Fujimori and Vlademiro Montesinos. He concluded his criticism of the potential president by assuring his public that if Keiko Fujimori gets voted in, she will only act as a mask for her father, who will be the true leader of the country from his cell in prison, where he is serving a twenty-five year sentence for crimes against humanity, a fact Vargas Llosa made sure to point out.

However, Humala has also been criticised for contradictions within his outline for governmental goals. The documents submitted in March did not reflect aspects outlined within his speeches made to the public in the week leading up to elections. The Jurado Nacional de Elecciones, or National Election Board have asked for Humala to clarify his aims over the next two weeks.

A further debate will be carried out between the two remaining candidates on the 29 May. It is thought this will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Lima due to its high security provisions, the lack of which was the main reason why the University has been denied as a location.

This week has seen a plethora of Holy Week celebrations, ranging from the touring of the saints up in the Andes to the pilgrimages between churches in Lima. Thousands of people resident in Lima City participated in the famous route of the seven churches in order to show their dedication to their faith. Other provinces also celebrate the resurrection in a variety of traditional ways, such as those of Pisco parading the Lord of Agony through the streets in order to plead for the health and justice for those who have suffered violence in the district.

Increased bullying in Peruvian schools has triggered pleas for change in legislation regarding the treatment and protection of minors. Representatives from the Home Office wish to include figures gathered from schools in the Callao district of Lima within the new ‘Code of the Minor and Adolescent’. Susan Rueda, of the Lima Ministry of Family, has emphasised that the state should recognise the psychological aspects of bullying and not only physical violence. She criticises the current system for having “too many gaps” and has proposed adding to article 184 so as to improve the protection offered to both the bullied and the bullyer, as well as modifying article 217 so that schools and the state take bullying more seriously.