Sao Paulo – New President of Peru, Leftist teacher Pedro CastilloHis term will begin next Wednesday, July 28th. Keiko Fujimori, the right-winger in second place in the election, is already in a political crisis, provoked by the insistence on not accepting the result of the vote. For specialists, the situation in the country is a warning to the continent, as they may be motivated to question pure electoral processes when other leaders fail.
In the second round on June 6, Castillo won by a margin of 44,000 votes, the result of which was clear the week after the election. Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former Peruvian dictator Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), has been accused of fraud in the results. They filed more than 270 petitions in the Peruvian Electoral Court to invalidate their opponent’s votes without providing evidence.
According to Moises Marquez, a scientist from the School of Sociology and Politics in Sao Paulo (FEPS), Keiko follows a script similar to that of former US President Donald Trump, creating a kind of local political risk.
– Two dangerous patterns are emerging in Latin America. The first is from highly polarized communities. Second, it uses the tactic of claiming that a candidate who loses an election is cheating. The Peruvian case is not the first time this has happened, but it marks the beginning of a dangerous pattern in Latin America, he says.
According to Marquez, this behavior undermines trust in institutions and endangers democracy itself.
– Democracy must be a game that is accepted by all who participate in elections. He says a failed candidate who is part of the population is a serious problem and a role model against the political system, the courts and institutions, as Trump, Keiko and Bolsonaro threatened.
Analysts say this behavior is not limited to right-wing candidates, including current Mexican president Andres Manuel Lപ്പpez Obrador, who questioned the outcome of the last presidential election.
In Ecuador, this year, Yaku Perez, the third-placed left-wing local leader in the presidential race, has accused elected banker Guillermo Lasso of cheating without giving evidence after losing his seat in the second round.
Professor Oliver Stunkel of FGV says Keiko’s strategy of questioning election results in the Organization of American States (OAS) was relatively successful. It did not invalidate the election, but it did lead a significant section of the Peruvian people to question Castillo’s legitimacy.
– What is happening in Peru is a reflection of the fact that in Latin America, today, there is no common ground for pressuring political leaders to respect the rules of the game. Keiko need not fear retaliation in this area, they are acting because of the punitive action. This will inspire leaders in other countries, he says.
At the international level, Stunkel says, the successful erosion of democratic regimes is a tendency that drives other countries to follow suit.
– We can observe this in recent cases in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. We do not now have a multifaceted body that most countries see as legal [que possa mediar e atenuar as crises]. The OAS has lost its relevance and the Unazur (Union of South American Nations) practically does not exist – he says.
Stunkel points out that Castillo’s biggest challenge in Peru is to complete his term, which has already begun to weaken. The candidate, who praised the Bolivian model of Bolivia and Venezuela for their leftist speeches in the campaign and proposed a new constitution for the country, is seeking a dialogue with the center-center-left parties in the coming weeks.
The new president’s party, Free Peru, has the largest bench in Congress, but does not have a majority and controls 37 of the 130 seats. Adding allies, the governing council has 45 members.
Keiko, who is already in custody in connection with an investigation into allegations of receiving illegal donations from Odebrecht, Brazil, is likely to face further legal issues. The candidate promised during the campaign that he would concede defeat, but failing in the third consecutive presidential election meant that he would be more exposed in the process facing the courts.
Possibility of rupture
For historian Alberto Agio, a UNESCO professor, the possibility of a rift in Peru’s democracy is not ruled out.
– During the campaign, there was an extreme right-wing campaign calling on the military to take action against Castillo’s victory. It must be at the scene, it is dangerous. Castillo is entering a state of weakness, and the Left must moderate the extremist discourse to seek an alliance in the political context of the Great Depression, he says.
Despite issuing a note praising the electoral process in Peru, Agio says US diplomacy led by Joe Biden has not yet given clear indications of what its position will be in Latin America.
– When military regimes ended on the continent, the electoral solution was unquestionable and there was no criticism of the election. “There is a global response from the far right today to the appointment of representative democracy, including in Latin America,” he said.
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