Only 10 days prior to his inauguration on July 28, Peruvian President-elect Ollanta Humala’s approval rating has dropped to 41 percent. The latest figure comes from a survey released yesterday by Peruvian firm Ipsos Apoyo—the same organization that polled support of Humala at 70 percent less than one month ago.
Ipsos Apoyo director Alfredo Torres attributes the 29-point slide to the fallout from a trip that Ollanta Humala’s brother, Alexis Humala, took to Russia earlier this month. While there, he held a series of meetings with high-level public- and private-sector officials, including Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov. Both sides report that they discussed oil and gas issues and improving bilateral ties, but the Peruvian media is also reporting that Alexis Humala met with Russian arms manufacturers, the defense minister and representatives from Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas corporation.
While the President-elect maintains that he did not send his brother to Russia as an envoy of the incoming administration, the Russian foreign ministry averred that Alexis was sent as a “special representative” of the Peruvian government. Alexis Humala lived in Russia for nearly 10 years and has close ties to the country. According to the poll, 77 percent of Ipsos Apoyo respondents believe that Alexis Humala tried to use his ties to his brother for personal benefit and 82 percent of respondents disapprove of the trip.
In the face of growing consternation, President-elect Humala on July 8 suspended Alexis from the Partido Nacionalista Peruano—a party the brothers co-founded together—which also forms part of the Gana Perú coalition that carried President-elect Humala to victory earlier this year.