The five main candidates in Peru’s presidential election, to be held on Sunday, met in Lima yesterday for a debate that focused largely on economic and social issues. The participants included: Ollanta Humala (Gana Perú); Alejandro Toledo (Perú Posible); Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza 2011); Luis Castañeda (Solidaridad Nacional); and Pedro Pablo Kuzynski (Alianza por el Gran Cambio).
Kuzynski was described as being seemingly hesitant and Castañeda as lost in the mechanics of the debate. Former frontrunner Toledo aggressively went after his opponents for their perceived weaknesses. Toledo attacked Fujimori by saying that her father (former President Alberto Fujimori) left Peru in bad economic shape. Keiko had told voters she would continue the policies of her father, who is incarcerated for human rights violations. Humala, on the other hand, tried to strike a conciliatory tone and shake off allegations of perceived closeness to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Bolivian President Evo Morales. Humala presented himself as an alternative to Peru’s presidential administrations of the past 20 years.
Humala appears to have been the main beneficiary of yesterday’s debate. According to an Ipsos Apoyo poll released yesterday, support for Humala jumped to 26 percent of the electorate, up from 21 percent last week. Fujimori, Toledo and Kuzynski remain in a three-way statistical tie for second, while Castañeda trails in last place. If no single candidate garners 50 percent of the vote on April 10, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff in June.