Monday, June 27

Peru closes an electoral campaign marked by the enormous numbers of the pandemic


It has the highest death rate from covid in the world. The polls predict a technical tie between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo

March against right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, in Lima.
March against right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, in Lima.EFE
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Peru is nearing the end of the worst possible presidential campaign after learning the updated figures for the pandemic, as if it were one hecatomb after another. Of the almost 68.000 deaths that had been counted until this week has been passed to 180.764, which makes the Andean country the fifth in the world with the most deaths and the fourth in the continent after the United States, Brazil and Mexico.

A national tragedy and an unpredictable jump from 15th place to the updated position, as a result of the government adjusting the technical criteria used, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Until now, only the deceased with a positive PCR were counted and now six more criteria have been added, including radiological images.

The National System of Deaths had previously warned that there was an underestimation in the number of deaths, which prompted the government to create a cabinet of experts. The 70% of the deceased under the new evaluation are older adults.

In this way, Peru becomes the country with the highest mortality rate on the entire planet in relation to its population. And in a region where today the virus is advancing at a greater speed, with outbreaks as strong as that of Argentina, which has caused its resignation to organize the Copa América football. So far only India (331,607 deaths) appears in the ranking among the American giants USA (594,565), Brazil (461,931) and Mexico (223,455).

Violeta Bermúdez, president of the Council of Ministers, endorsed the words of the WHO, which “estimates that the number of deaths from covid-19 is 2 or 3 times higher than the official figures that are reported by each country worldwide “.

Polls predict a technical tie

In such a situation, with the consequent emotional impact on the country, the two candidates closed their campaigns on Thursday with more of the same: two extreme visions of the country. The difference in votes obtained by Pedro Castillo (18.92%) in the first round against Keiko Fujimori (13.41%) has dissipated in such a way that it has caused most of the polls to bet on a dead heat.

“The electorate knows Keiko Fujimori and his policies. The determining factor continues to be how the electorate interprets Pedro Castillo, whether as an extremist linked to the Shining Path or a left-wing outsider who is more moderate?”, The analyst summarizes for EL MUNDO John Polga-Hecimovich.

Neither of them has it easy to convince some undecided voters who are no longer so many, less than 20%, and who will end up deciding who is less afraid of the two, if the radical left unionist who has not succeeded shake off the shadow of the communist Vladimir Cerrón, the head of his party, Peru Libre, or the daughter of the dictator and his far-right populism, over which a corruption investigation looms with 30-year jail request already carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office.

“It will be important to see how many votes Castillo manages to get from the center and from the right; he has support there that reflects a line of anti-Fujimorism and his evangelical base,” adds the expert.

“Both are a shame and a danger”

The last debate between the two candidates has not dispelled any great doubts, beyond the fact that Castillo does not convince in the melee and that Fujimori, with more political tables, has deployed a series of proposals that seem impossible. “None offers the country a hopeful horizon for the Bicentennial, “says sociologist Juan Luis Dammert.

Peru celebrates next year 200 years of its independence in the midst of a huge political crisis, which has wiped out three presidents in a single legislature and which maintains several former leaders between bars or awaiting trial.

Castillo’s programmatic weaknesses have multiplied due to the ineffectiveness of the team that surrounds him, despite what continues to appear as the anti-system candidate. Some of his proposals are bizarre like the ban on imports of basic products. His big bet, following the Bolivarian model, is to implant a Constituent Assembly to reform the political system at his convenience with a customized Magna Carta.

The choice for the “lesser evil”, as the writer Mario Vargas Llosa pointed out, who has given his conditional support, together with a group of intellectuals and businessmen, to Fujimori, they have even forced her to sign a document with the commitment to preserve democracy.

“The only certainty is that both candidates are a shame and a danger. A pandemic within a pandemic “, the writer Luis Yslas gave in.

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