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Is There an Option for Keiko Fujimori To Be President of Peru?

It has been more than a month and The National Jury of Elections (JNE) has not yet declared a formal winner of the Peruvian presidency. Keiko Fujimori is still trying in every possible way to achieve the majority of votes to become president.

The Woman Post | Diana Sedano Valdes

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Peru is under a complex, unstable political situation that lies in corruption, polarization, lack of trust in institutions, and the absence of an elected president for the term 2021 – 2026. The June 6th runoff election left Pedro Castillo with 50,12% of the votes and Keiko Fujimori with 49,87% within a political race of Left and Right, respectively. As a result, Fujimori denounced electoral fraud demanding a recount and the canceling of some illegal votes. It caused a tense scene where the two electoral institutions in Peru, The National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) and The National Jury of Elections (JNE), have not yet announced a winner until they get to process all the appeals. 

Fujimori doubts the transparency and neutrality of these bodies and has demanded an international audit before President Sagasti. However, it was rejected by the Executive, recalling the neutrality principle and declaring the competency of the JNE to handle the demands of Fujimori. Furthermore, the 160 international observers, part of institutions like the OAS or the ONIORE, who participated during the runoff, have already declared they were democratic and legitimate. It is worthy thus to remember who Keiko Fujimori is and what can be expected of this electoral process considering her aspirations and motivations.

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Keiko Sofía Fujimori wants to be the first women president in Peru. She has been in politics since she was a teenager. She was First Lady of Peru at the age of 19 and followed her father’s career until he went into prison in 2019. Extreme ups and downs have marked her life. Fujimori has participated in three presidential campaigns, getting three times in the runoffs (against Ollanta Humala in 2011, Kuczynski in 2016, and Castillo in 2021). However, she was confined in preventive prison three times (for a total of 16 months) and still faces legal issues that could end again in getting her into jail. She is considered one of the most strong and resilient women in Peru, but her career has been constantly overshadowed by her father’s actions as well as hers.

She founded the political party Fuerza Popular and has been its leader since 2010. During her periods at Congress, her legal issues started coming out, relating her activities to organized crime, money laundering, obstruction of justice, and perjury. These accusations have not yet been proved, but she could be in prison for 30 years if they proceed. However, if she arrives at the presidential inauguration, her chances of getting captured diminish promptly. Fujimori wants to rule by her “Demodura” approach (democracy under a heavy-handed), supports development under a social market economy, and favors legalizing gay marriage. She clearly rejects her opponent’s proposal of a constituent assembly to rewrite her father’s 1993 constitution. She has not considered either other of his propositions like the renegotiation of the utilities of the mining sector enterprises (even if she wants to address 40% of the royalties to the families in this industry), the increase in education expenditure from 3.5% to 10% or a wider budget for agriculture and green activities. However, both candidates agree to create an institution to fight against corruption.

Peru has a political instability left by four presidents during the last four years. The country suffers from a history of corruption in which the former six mandataries were prosecuted. The outlook for 2021 shows a race between a recognized urban politician and an outsider who cares about the peripheries, a candidate accused of corruption, and another of lack of political experience. The situation does not help towards stability. Consequently, the gap between the Right and the Left widens. The current crisis — not only in Peru but around the world — requires a fast transition in which the outgoing government and the new government can establish the country's future.