Elections: Round 2

A quick and probably incomplete review of the elections situation (when there are 24 presidential candidates its even confusing for the Peruvians):

Background Note:  Everyone over 18 in Peru HAS to vote or else they pay a pretty hefty fine. 

Top Three Candidates

Lourdes:  A strong female candidate.  Known to run in wealthy & political circles.  Focus on improving education and healthcare as a means for curbing some of the economic and social difficulties that the country is facing.  Very popular in Lima but not as much in the provinces.  Some of the poorer communities are afraid she will have a presidency like so many others spent pleasing the few wealthy and ignoring the pleas of the poor majority.  Others just aren’t ready to elect a female.

Garcia:  Ex-President of Peru.  2 presidents ago, Garcia started out strong.  Economy was doing well, things were relatively peaceful, people were happy—or at least they thought—and then they discovered it was a false prosperity & happiness as it turns out that his presidency was marked with corruption and printing money.  Moral of the story: printing money never solves your problems.  Garcia learned this the hard way as his term ushered in an incredibly scary era of terrorism & guerilla warfare.  So why is this man running for president again (and in the top three)?  He says he has changed, he says he knows better now, and he is an incredible speaker.  His target generation is the youth (who HAVE to vote whether they are informed or not) and he is doing a good job of getting their votes.  He also is getting a lot of the “No way do I want Peru to go way left with Ollanta but I don’t want a woman president either” votes.

Ollanta:  The most leftist of our candidates, while not as extreme as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela or Evo Morales of Bolivia, he does fall in that camp.  He talks of rewriting the constitution and changing trade agreements with the States, both potentially wonderful and potentially dangerous moves.  He is known as the advocate of the indigenous and more impoverished people of Peru.  He is also quite militaristic with a bit of a violent history.  Very popular in the provinces, not as much in Lima as many are afraid of a violent militaristic regime that may come as a result of his inexperience in political circles.

Most of the people I know, even though not wealthy by any means, voted for Lourdes and now that it looks like she is out are talking about voting for Garcia in the second round just because they don’t want Ollanta, not because they want Garcia.  Some people I know voted for Garcia, again not because they like him, but because they think he has a better chance of beating Ollanta in the second round.  But the word from the provinces (excluding Arequipa—I don’t remember exactly what happened but something about Ollanta making a nasty comment about Arequipeños so he’s not the fave out there either) is that Ollanta is the popular vote.  Its very interesting how different the city and the rural mentality is in all of this. 

Alright so that is not exactly well researched information but it is what I have picked up from being here during all this so yah, there you have it.  We will be going into second round voting in the middle of May so please continue to pray for Peru and South America during this critical time.

love to the people!