The upcoming second round of the Peruvian elections is being closely watched by many eyes worldwide. Not only because of its complexion in terms of the candidates challenging for the presidential seat, but also, because of what it represents for its future.
During the first round of the dispute two candidates were disqualified. Julio Guzmán, from Todos por el Perú, had irregularities with his registration with the National Election Office (JNE, in Spanish), while César Acuña, from Alianza por el Progreso (APP), were acused of giving money to people as part of its campaign strategy.
In terms of electoral governance, Peru is a very interesting case. This is due to its dangerous tradition of not respecting electoral democratic patterns, which can be traced, in modern days, with the Fujimori’s auto coup in 1992. Political figure well-known, Alberto Fujimori decided to contest against Mario Vargas Llosa, for the presidency of the country in 1990. He was victorious, but his allies did not won many chambers in the Congress. As so, in 1992, given the refusal of the Congress of grating him broad powers to legislate without control, Fujimori decided to dissolve it. The episode became largely known and the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) called for an emergence reunion to discuss the Peruvian democratic crisis, and formally requested the rapid institutional reestablishment of the country’s democratic institutions (Moreira, 2015, p. 19).
Once again, the Fujimoris are about to be elected, but not with opposition. Five days before the election, the collective “Keiko no va”, organized a protest that gathered more than 70 thousand marchers, at the streets of Lima and in the northern departments, such as Lambayeque and Piura (La Republica, 05/31/2016).
This demonstrates that the left is losing terrain in the country. Even after the announcement that the ex-presidential candidate Verónika Mendonza, leader of the leftist party Frente Amplio, was supporting the opposition candidate, Pedro Paulo Kuczynski (PPK) (Infobae, 06/01/2016), the voters are still divided. While the former prime minister, during the Alejandro Toledo’s rule, has about 47,4% of the intentions of voting, the Fujimori’s daughter has about 53,1% (El Periódico Hispano, 05/29/2016).
The division is even more visible when considering the searches did at Google’s website. According to the information giant, the researches varies between “who to vote for”, “proposals of the candidates” and “polls”. This trend also represents a changing pattern in the ways the access to information is being distributed alongside the country. With the introduction of new technologies such as the portable cellphones and tablets, the Peruvians are now more connected than ever to the internet, and have more equal access to information, an important feature to be respected during a democratic electoral process (RPP Noticias, 06/02/2016).
According to Bjornlund (2001), the respect for minimal standards of electoral process in accordance with global democratic norms – such as the access to information, equal opportunities for candidates and parties to run for elected offices and unfettered rights of freedom of expression and assembly –, provide the international legal mandate for electoral activities performed by intergovernmental organizations, such as the deployment of observer missions responsible for evaluating the quality of elections.
Notwithstanding, regional organizations such as the Union of South American Nations (Unasur)*, the European Parliament (EP), the Andean Community of Nations (CAN), and multilateral organizations, such as the OAS and the European Union (EU), are already in the country to evaluate the all process.
This is interesting because for many of these organizations, the Peruvian electoral process, on Sunday (5th June), will be an opportunity to see if Peru is in compliance with international democratic norms, which are an elemental force in international politics, in a more constructivist view (Sikkink et all,1999), or on the contrary, if norms are merely a “window dressing” for the country, according to realists (Mearsheimer, 1995), as he seeks for benefits** generated by the international approval (or legitimacy) of its voting journey (Hyde, 2011; Kelley, 2012).
Finally, independently of its final results what is already being closed examined by the international watchdogs, are the irregularities surrounding the electoral cycle. This is due to the fact that a huge amount of anomalies***, for example, delay in the announcement of previous ballot counting and discrepancies in the numbers of voting tabulation and final results, could undermine the confidence in the all process, leading to unexpected outcomes and threatening the already fragile Peruvian democracy.
* Unasur is only going to “accompany” the process, which means, he will not make public any of its recommendations or observations after the end of the voting process.
** Those benefits can include: foreign investment; preferential trade agreements; membership in any international organization; increased economic flow; prestige etc.
*** About the irregularities, only a more narrowly examination of the all process could determine if they constituted bad practices or were only casualties that can materialize in any election.
BJORNLUND, Eric. “Democracy Inc.” The Wilson Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 3, (Summer 2001), pp. 18-24.
EL PERIÓDICO HISPANO. “Elecciones presidenciales en Perú: Keiko Fujimori se mantiene adelante de su contendor Pablo Kuczynski, según Ipsos y CPI”. Destacadas, May 29, 2016. Available at: http://www.elperiodicohispano.com/21251-elecciones-presidenciales-en-peru-keiko-fujimori-se-mantiene-adelante-de-su-contendor-pablo-kuczynski-segun-ipsos-y-cpi/. Access: June 2, 2016.
HYDE, Susan D. The Pseudo-democrat’s Dilemma. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2011.
INFOBAE. “Elecciones en Perú: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski suma apoyos”. América Latina, June 1, 2016. Available at: http://www.infobae.com/2016/06/01/1815533-elecciones-peru-pedro-pablo-kuczynski-suma-apoyos. Access: June 2, 2016.
KELLEY, Judith. Monitoring Democracy: When International Election Observation Works and Why It Often Fails. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2012.
LA REPUBLICA. “Multitudinaria y contundente movilización en defensa de la democracia”. En portada, June 1, 2016, p. 2-4.
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MOREIRA, Paula. G. “O Monitoramento Internacional de Eleições no Peru: normatização de valores democráticos durante e após a era Fujimori”. Observador On-Line, Vol.10, No.4, 2015, 30p.
RPP Noticias. “Por quién votar” y “propuestas” marcan tendencia en Google en segunda vuelta. Vota Perú, June 2, 2016. Available at: http://rpp.pe/tecnologia/google/por-quien-votar-y-propuestas-marcan-tendencia-en-google-en-segunda-vuelta-noticia-967654. Access: June 2, 2016.
SIKKINK, Kathryn (et al). The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.