Ultra-conservatism takes Lima | International

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The elections in Peru have become a brief suspense story. At five o'clock on Sunday afternoon, in the electoral flash, Rafael López Aliaga (Popular Renovation), the member of Opus Dei who identifies himself with Porky, the animated pig from Looney Tunes, was the mayor of Lima with a very big advantage. short. The Ipsos pollster placed him in first place with 26.8% while his rival, Daniel Urresti (Podemos Peru) figured with 25.8%, exactly one point less. Over the course of the hours, one and the other were placed in the lead, generating a storm on social networks, but this Monday the difference in favor of López Aliaga was irreversible. He will be the next mayor of Lima.

At almost eleven o'clock at night, the celestial wave de López Aliaga received a bucket of cold water. The quick count of the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), the entity that watches over the votes, gave Urresti as the momentary winner. This retired general who is participating for the fourth time in an election had turned the situation around and now it was he who appeared with more than one point (26%) above López Aliaga (24.8%).

To this is credited that at the same time the Ipsos pollster published its 100% quick count in Metropolitan Lima giving an exact technical tie. This very narrow margin caused some eruptions in social networks during the early hours. The specter of fraud began to hover, as it did in mid-2021, when Pedro Castillo, a peasant teacher with union experience, defeated Keiko Fujimori, the candidate who for the third time lost the presidency of Peru in a second round.

“It not only hits the city but the legitimacy of democracy. That worries me in the long run. Because it could keep repeating itself. Unfortunately, the ghosts of trauma can resurface”, says political scientist and university professor Paula Távara about this discourse that generates a harmful impact on citizens and institutions.

However, as the hours passed, the tortilla turned again until the trend was defined. The minutes accounted for at 97.5% by the ONPE have given Rafael López Aliaga this Monday as the virtual mayor of Lima with 26.3% over Urresti (25.4%). Although the margin continues to be very tight, the distance is practically irreversible.

Be that as it may, as the political scientist Rodrigo Barnechea reveals, the new mayor of Lima is the most unpopular of the last 42 years. Since 1980, no mayor of the capital of Peru had been elected with less than 30%. In that year, Eduardo Orrego (Popular Action) achieved it with 34.9%.

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Disconnection, absenteeism and low quality of proposals

“I have not voted with enthusiasm. Only because of the one I think has the least background,” says Katherine Mejía, an architect, mother of a girl, and a resident of Lince, a middle-class district of Lima. That same enthusiasm is also shared by Mirza Palomino, a supervisor of a shoe store: "Of what there is, I have chosen what seems better to me, but I have not had a favorite," says Melitón Carvajal, the school from the synthetic field. largest in the district, where several polling stations have been set up.

AME9866. LIMA (PERU), 09/25/2022.- Daniel Urresti, from Podemos Peru, participates during a debate with candidates for Mayor of Lima, today in Peru. EFE / Paolo Aguilar
Paolo Aguilar (EFE)

His mother and daughter found out on Saturday that they had to vote this Sunday. But they are not an exception, but rather a trend: in the 2022 Regional and Municipal Elections, where more than 13,000 authorities have been elected throughout Peru, including 25 regional governors and 196 provincial mayors, there is a perception that a a large percentage of the electorate has been disconnected from the process. And that you have resolved your vote in the queue.

The political scientist Paula Távara explains this lack of interest from two aspects: the national political noise and the widespread feeling that the problems that overwhelm the country do not seem to be resolved through municipal efforts. “We have been so focused on the multiple mini-crisis and mini-scandals of the Executive that this has ended up eating away the time and attention of what would normally be the electoral campaign. In the midst of this chaos, very few citizens have been able to reflect on their vote.”

On Sunday, after having breakfast with a group of motorcycle taxi drivers for television, Rafael López Aliaga (Popular Renovation) showed his voting card to launch a complaint: that his logo was faded and that, therefore, that would reduce his chances of being victorious. in the electoral contest.

According to political scientist Fernando Tuesta, former head of the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), López Aliaga's act constitutes an electoral crime, provided for in article 358 of the Penal Code, since the vote is secret, and proselytism is also prohibited. political. Daniel Urresti, the Podemos Peru candidate, who was on his heels, responded with a message that sounds like a bad omen: “He has violated the rules. What will he respect if he gets elected?

Both López Aliaga and Urresti had the same “workhorse” during their campaign: reinforce and end citizen insecurity. While the businessman proposed to patrol the capital with a fleet of 10,000 motorcycles with GPS, Urresti, a retired general, assured that in his eventual management he would capture 200 criminals a day in Lima.

“Without minimizing that, after the pandemic and with the precarious situation, insecurity may have increased, there is a discourse on crime that, I think, has been installed so as not to have to discuss deeper issues. It is easier for a candidate to talk about patrol cars and arrests than to talk about territorial reorganization, how to build public lighting and safe public spaces”, explains Paula Távara.

George Forsyth, the candidate for Somos Perú who finished third on the Lima podium, was not far from López Aliaga or Urresti in that regard. The ex-professional archer planned to equip the watchmen with weapons.

A detail that was repeated in this election, as in the 2021 presidential elections that brought Pedro Castillo to power, was the delay in installing the voting tables. According to a report by the NGO Transparencia, at 10:30 in the morning, only 50% of tables had been installed nationwide (41,988 of a total of 84,322).

In Lima, in addition, there was absenteeism in the wealthiest districts, confirming the lack of interest in this electoral process. In San Isidro, around 25,000 people failed in their civic duty (33.8%). In Miraflores, the district facing the sea, the percentage is very similar: 41,000 voters (32.3%). They are followed by San Borja with 32,000 (26.6%), Surco with 85,000 (26.2%) and Lince with 21,000 (26%).

Absence of Free Peru and Popular Force in the regions

A fact that has caught the attention of political analysts is that almost a year and a half after the national second round, neither Peru Libre nor Fuerza Popular are among the parties of origin of the new authorities at the district and regional levels.

According to Gianfranco Vigo, communicator for development, with extensive knowledge of the sociopolitical reality of the regions, it is a consequence of the weakening of political parties. “This scenario of the mini-candidates of the presidential election, in which few votes were distributed, has happened again. And that detracts from the legitimacy of the authorities in their jurisdictions.”

Vigo adds that although in other times the Municipal and Regional Elections used to empower the government in power, this has not happened due to the estrangement between President Pedro Castillo and Peru Libre. “The official force does not have the force of other governments. In addition, the president himself resigned from the political party that brought him to power. I'm not surprised by the results."

Joaquín Ramírez, former secretary general of Fuerza Popular and former congressman, is, in theory, the virtual regional governor of the Cajamarca region. According to the quick count, he has obtained 33.7% with his Cajamarca Siempre Verde group. However, the Electoral Jury declared his candidacy inadmissible the day before for having "violated due process." Ramírez has been investigated for money laundering since the days when he was close to the leader of Fuerza Popular, Keiko Fujimori.

From Cajamarca, the analyst Gianfranco Vigo highlights the moral and ideological impoverishment of the political class, also at the subnational level. “In the regions, corruption, commissions for public works, bids that are tied up are normalized. The Creole culture that is lived in Peru has been normalized and with the government of Pedro Castillo it has been institutionalized”, he maintains.

Ramírez is joined by Luis Torres Robledo (Movimiento Independiente Regional Fuerza Tacna), brand new regional governor of Tacna, who leads his closest pursuer Segundo Ruiz (Movimiento Siempre Tacna) by 10% in the quick count. The detail: he is serving house arrest for being accused of leading a criminal organization.

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