Thursday, April 13, 2006

Peru Election: Race To The Finish Line permanent link   13 comments
update (Thursday, 8.00 am, local time):

after 88,31%of votes are counted:

Humala: 30.99%
Garcia: 24,42%
Flores: 23,34%

current results from voters abroad:

After 10.6% of submitted votes have been counted

Lourdes Flores 62.25%
Ollanta Humala 11.69%
Alan Garcia 10,21%
Martha Chavez 9,51%


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latest news:

Ollanta discards political alliance

Ollanta Humala and the UPP are not planning to seek a political alliance with any other grouping for the upcoming second round. "We are not thinking about creating an alliance with any other political grouping. We continue to work on our united political project and look for the social majority based on concrete, precise proposals", he declared during a press conference in which he also commented on the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, which was signed today.
He reiterated not to be against the FTA, but that it has been badly negotiated. "This treaty must happen through the referendum order and therefore we call on the present Congress to decline its ratification".

this is CNN's take on it

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After a crueling race with many yellow flag periods, crashes and retired cars, there are only 15 laps left in the Peruvian 500 at Inca Motor Speedway!

Tough rookie Ollanta Humala's car of the low-budget Team UPP is running smooth, he changed all 4 tires during his last pit stop a while ago, and is now cruising towards the finish line in first place. I just saw him waving optimistically to the cheering bleacher crowd where most of his loyal fans are... he can afford it after creating quite a comfortable gap.

The battle for second place however is as close and competitive as it gets.
Alan Garcia, the veteran from Team APRA, delivered a very good race so far, exceeding expectations from the get-go. He was able to keep his car's nose in Flores' gear box right from the start and waited patiently for his opportunity. And it payed off. Some 40 laps ago he charged ahead into second place in a rather unspectacular move, overtaking Flores in turn 3. The reason may well be his new aerodynamic, wind-channel tested, Armani racing suit that works as his lucky charm. Cameras showed his wife Pilar and his children biting their fingernails in tense excitement.

Lourdes Flores, driving for wealthy Team UN, ran in second for most of the race, keeping Garcia in her rear-view mirror. However, she has lost her 6th gear in lap 410 and the mechanics crew wasn't able to fix it. To make matters worse, one can notice an occasional puff of white smoke coming out of her engine... not a good sign. However, she's trying desperatly to stay in Garcia's slipstream and hoping for a late surge. Racing fans are speculating about a secret little red button they saw on her dashboard which many believe will ignite some sort of turbo effect. So far it isn't working and her international sponsors (Starbucks, TGIF, KFC, Nestle, BMW and others) are getting nervous and start wondering if she has it in her.

14 laps to the checkered flag, then we will know which two cars are headed for an all decisive match race in a few weeks, and who will climb the fences and drink / spill the milk in the winner's circle at Peru's brickyard.

only 13 laps to go.........

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late add-ons:

Alvaro Vargas Llosa: Peru - A Fox Guarding The Hen House?

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13 Comments:

At 4/11/2006 12:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

I love It Inka,

Humor is the best medicine to tense situations like supper with the in laws or even discussions about politics or religion with a close friend or relative. I always tell myself what would I do if I didn't have carlin's hilarious political characterizations to keep me on even keel. I love it when we poke fun at politics and poltical figures.

Victor

 
At 4/11/2006 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

:-)

yuk, supper with in-laws.... Meet the Fockers! :-)

 
At 4/11/2006 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Very funny Wolf.

Sadly, even if Lourdes makes it to the second round, it doesn't bode very well for her being the next president of Peru, does it? She will really need to work to gain enough votes to surpass Ollanta.

Maybe there is a silver lining to an Alan-Humala contest after all.

What a nail-biter this has turned into.

Sigh! Peruvian politics ........

Gato

 
At 4/11/2006 06:56:00 PM, Anonymous Karlo wrote...

GO Wolfy GO!!!!!
Good e-pill for the soul in these strange days

 
At 4/11/2006 08:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Just logged on and I think I may have coined a nickname for the leader of the pack... "la llanta humana'... (i'm still chuckling) seems to be stunning the spectators with a smoking burn-out. Trepidation takes the spectators as they wait for the smoke to hear...

 
At 4/11/2006 11:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Well, inka-wolfy, Tuesday p.m. and according to my handy-dandy calculator, and a lengthy perusal of the ONPE results (86.645% de actas computadas el 11/04/2006 a las 19:28:56 horas) it looks like we're still waiting for 3.7 million votes, give or take some.

The votes from the Peruvians living in the Americas has yet to be tallied. But that does not amount to 3.7 million votes.

I looked at each department's voting data, and found some interesting information.

If by some milagro Lourdes advances to the run off (unlikely at this point), I think she would be hard pressed to beat Humala.

In the departamental breakdown, her party, Unidad Nacional, came in FIRST place only in Lima (not even in Callao, where they placed second to the Apra).

UN came in SECOND in only three departments: La Libertad and (surprisingly) Junín and Arequipa. And, UN came in FOURTH in three departments (Loreto, Cajamarca, and Huancavelica).

I just don't think the votes are there for Lourdes Flores outside of Lima. She clearly suffers from a disconnect from voters in the provinces.

In an Humala-Flores run off, I think a lot of the Apra voters would vote for Ollanta or void their ballots.

(Another interesting tidbit I discovered when I crunched the ONPE numbers tonight: the 'blank/null' votes combined came in FOURTH place out of a field of 21 candidates! Talk about dissatisfaction with the system.)

Apra came in second in a number of departments. Apra came in first place in two departments (La Libertad and Callao).

I think the votes are there for a García candidacy if people can get over his history.

Has Alan García changed? Will he make a better President now, 20 years after his debacle the first time around?

I would hope he would have the wherewithal to realize this is a tremendous opportunity to redeem his name in the epochs of Peruvian history.

But, knowing Peruvian politics, almost anything is possible.

Con (o por) dinero baila el perro.

The good news is clearly Humala does not have a vast majority mandate as did Evo. Seventy percent of the voters have voted against him.

In fact, I don't compare Evo and Ollanta at all. I find more differences than similarites between them.

Ollanta's similarites are with a whole other cast of characters.

Can Humala draw more people to his fold? Or, will the most recent allegations of his collusion with Montesinos wither some of his support?

More importantly, will Lourdes' supporters be willing to vote for Alan? Or, will it be anathema to them, something akin to chopping off their right hand, and all they'll do is void their ballot?

But, in the next round, each voided ballot is a vote for Humala.

The uncertainty of who is heading to the runoff works in Humala's favor. He knows he's going, so he can already be campaigning, while the other two have to wait for every vote to be tallied.

Ay, ay, ay, la política en el país de las maravillas, where anything can, and usually does, happen.


Saludos!



Gato
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At 4/12/2006 01:22:00 AM, Blogger Simon Bidwell wrote...

All good questions, Gato. To an outsider, it seems unbelievable that majority of Peruvians would vote for Alan a second time around. But they almost did in 2001...

A lot may depend on the attitude of Lourdes if she eventually loses. If Humala is seen as enough of a threat, she could persuade otherwise reluctant supporters to vote for Alan en la segunda vuelta.

I will be in Peru from next Tuesday. It will be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.

Does anyone know what the total number of expatriate voters is? One poll I saw showed 60 percent of them favouring Lourdes.

 
At 4/12/2006 09:21:00 AM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

Gato,
as usual, great analysis. IMO, and I said it before, Garcia has a better chance of defeating Humala in the second round. You already mentioned some of the reasons. If push comes to shove, I believe that more Flores voters will pick Garcia in the second round than Apristas voting for Flores.

I just read Alvaro Vargas Llosa's opinion on that issue, which I find very interesting:
Against what many wishful thinkers are predicting, I think Humala is going to be hard to stop even if he gets only 30 percent of the vote. I base this opinion on three factors.

Humala is the only candidate with a strong presence throughout the country — he won in 19 out of 25 regions. His bastions of support in the Andean south and center got Alberto Fujimori and Alejandro Toledo elected in 1990 and 2001 respectively. A candidate with a dominant position in the south, the center, and the east, with one-quarter of the vote in Lima (which represents a third of the electorate), and some support in various northern provinces, is going to be hard to beat, even if García is able to attract many of Flores’s middle and lower middle class votes.

Secondly, the country has shifted to the left in ideological terms. Although Humala’s support has to do more with sociology than with ideology because it comes from mestizo Peruvians with strong indigenous roots who feel excluded from the prevailing institutions, both he and García’s party are critical of globalization and what they term free-market "neoliberalism." Together, their two parties will have 78 out 120 seats in Congress. Their combined votes reflect a critical mass that runs contrary to what Lourdes Flores stands for. If García goes to the right in order to woo Flores’s voters, he may lose some of his base to Humala.

Finally, an alliance or pact between García and Flores might play into Humala’s hands in the second round (by definition a highly polarized scenario) because he presents himself as the scourge of the political establishment. It will be a match between "traditional politicians" and the "outsider".

The big question, in case of an Humala victory in the runoff, is whether the nationalist candidate will become another Chávez. He has already announced he will call a constituent assembly in order to change the Constitution, which will in turn give him the power to call new elections for Congress. That is exactly how Chávez managed to concentrate power and began to erode democracy in Venezuela. However, Humala did not get an outright majority in the first round and faces a very tough "pre-emptive" resistance from the establishment, something Chávez did not face before he had consolidated his position. Moreover, Humala will not have $50-billion worth of oil money available every year.

 
At 4/12/2006 09:22:00 AM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

Llosa - Part 2:

If Humala wins, he will, however, have a lot of cash in his hands because the minerals that Peru exports are producing a lot of revenue for the government and the outgoing administration is leaving behind substantial monetary reserves. If this is not enough to turn Peru from a mediocre democracy into an authoritarian regime, it will be enough to engage in fiscal profligacy and left-wing populism with impunity for a few years.

If Humala makes good on his promises to revise foreign investment contracts, to vote against the recent FTA with the United States and to nationalize natural resources, investment in Peru will diminish. Not a good thing for a country that needs more of it. The economy has grown by about 20 percent in the last five years but poverty has been reduced by between 2 and 4 percent. This means Peru needs much higher levels of investment in order to dramatically reduce poverty.

Peruvian voters are right to feel disgust at their prevailing institutions and to feel excluded from the realm of opportunity in a nation where 98 percent of businesses are forced to operate outside of the law and therefore have low productivity. The problem here is that the Humala remedy would end up killing the patient.

If, on the other hand, Alan García were to win, we could expect a less catastrophic administration than the one he headed in 1985-1990 but still one that will engage in at least some left-wing populism. He is unlikely to undertake the type of reform Peru needs in order to enfranchise those millions of excluded citizens who need to be brought into the market economy. A Lourdes Flores administration, though probably much better at the macro rather than the microeconomic level, would preserve much of the current legacy.

The issue of law and order has become even more important than jobs for millions of Peruvians. Crime and violence in poor neighborhoods has had a dismal response from the state and many people are desperately taking the law into their own hands. Many poor Peruvians see in Humala as a tough guy who will provide security for them. What they will end up doing, unless they turn away from him in the runoff, is put the fox in charge of the hen-house.

 
At 4/12/2006 09:37:00 AM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

Simon,
according to ONPE, after counting 17,841 valid expatriate votes, Flores has 62.25%, Humala 11.69% and Garcia 10.21%.
The total number of votes abroad is about 186,000.
Max Cameron has a great breakdown on this:

Could voters abroad decide this election?

you can follow the proceedings at the ONPE web site (they FINALLY got it up and running!)
Click on "PRESIDENCIALES, Resultados" and select "Extranjero" in the drop-down list.

 
At 4/12/2006 05:11:00 PM, Anonymous Melakwa wrote...

Question is, will the "lesser of three evils" be good enough for Peru?

 
At 4/13/2006 12:08:00 AM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

Melakwa,
where are the prophets when you need one...

 
At 4/13/2006 02:33:00 AM, Blogger Maria wrote...

Hey Wolfy..
If you could please look at my last post and read it's comments...
I have a little clown who is posting absurdities in my blog..
I have said my piece but I'd like for you to put your two cents on it as well.. Thank you my friend.
I am crossing my fingers for this election !!
m.

 

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