Peruvians vote in close elections and the market is under tension

As Peruvians voted in one of the most polarized elections in the country’s history on Sunday, financial markets are in a state of tension, and private opinion polls show that candidates are on par.

The election pitted Pedro Castillo against the widely disliked Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the former dictator of Peru, Alberto Fujimori. Pedro Castillo Pedro Castillo is a rural elementary school teacher. He is a left-wing populist. The elections were held during a period of historic challenges facing Peru, which is fighting one of the world’s worst coronavirus pandemics, corruption, inequality, poverty and political infighting.

The prospect of a victory for Castillo sparked The panic and capital flight of the Peruvian eliteAccording to Scotiabank, since the first round of voting in April (where Castillo appeared for the first time), Sol has depreciated against the U.S. dollar more than any other currency in the world. In the past month, the trading volume of the US dollar against the Sol has increased by about 20%.

Private polls circulated on social media showed that the competition went hand in hand. The investigation initially gave Castillo the lead, but now it shows that Fujimori has closed the gap.

“For Peru’s sake, I hope this is true,” a woman told the Financial Times after voting in the upscale neighbourhood of Miraflores on a gray morning in the Peruvian capital. “If not, we will lose.”

Castillo’s party, Liberty Peru, is led by a Marxist who advocates widespread nationalization, higher taxes, a new constitution and restrictions on imports to one of the world’s largest producers of copper, zinc and precious metals.

Pedro Castillo waved to supporters as he arrived in Takabamba in the Cajamarca region of northeastern Peru on Saturday. © Ernesto Benavides/AFP via Getty

“The worst outcome is if no one wins in a convincing way,” said Paula Muñoz, a political scientist at the University of the Pacific in Lima. “The loser may shout fraud, which may cause riots.”

Last week, a group of retired military officers said they were deeply concerned about the “radicalization of most of our population.” The Ministry of National Defense reported that civilians in certain areas of the country “impersonated members of the Peruvian army”, while people in wealthy areas of Lima have stockpiled food to deal with post-election shortages and possible violence. On Sunday morning, heavily armed soldiers stood outside the polling station.

16 people were massacred in remote areas Peru The attack on May 23 was blamed on the remnants of the Peruvian Maoist guerrillas “Road of Radiance”—increasing tensions.

Enrique Grau, a 38-year-old shop owner, said: “The atmosphere has been bad for several weeks.” “As a nation, we can’t do better than this. It’s bad for us. “

Since won first round With only 18.9%, Castillo awakened the people in the neglected and impoverished villages of the Andes with a simple and powerful message: “There will be no more poor people in rich countries.”

At the closing rally on Thursday, he appeared on the balcony of the historic center of Lima wearing a huge straw hat, waving his campaign’s characteristic big yellow inflatable pencil. The hat signifies that he is a rural man, and the pencil is a symbol of his education.

Soldiers stand near the polling station the day before the second round of elections on Saturday © Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters

“I say hello to those who have no right to speak, those who are anonymous, and those who are considered third- or fourth-class citizens,” he shouted to the thousands of supporters waving red flags in the streets below.

“This is what we have been waiting for for decades,” Mariela Rojas, a 47-year-old housewife, yelled amidst the noise. “Finally there is a candidate who understands us.”

Fujimori’s closing rallies on the outskirts of Lima were much lighter. Her efforts to become the first female president in Peru’s history have become complicated due to the corruption allegations she denies. The prosecutor accused her of being the leader of a criminal organization and said she should be sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Many middle-class Peruvians say that although they do not like and trust her, they will vote for her anyway to prevent Castillo’s power. They accused him and his supporters of being communists and in some cases terrorists.

“I will vote for Keiko because I don’t want my country to be the next Venezuela or Cuba,” said María Alejandra Lozada, a 24-year-old law student in the north. Come out during the campaign to welcome the city of Trujillo, Fujimori.

Keiko Fujimori, accompanied by her family, had breakfast in the San Juan de Lurigancho district and started her activities on Sunday in the presidential election runoff day in Lima © Luka Gonzales/AFP via Getty

As the voting approaches, the atmosphere has deteriorated. In the final television debate, Fujimori made a large rock, which she said was thrown to her entourage during the campaign in the Andes, and named Castillo “Pedro the Stoneslinger.”

Both parties have hinted that the other party might steal the election, which has been Scary background of pandemicThis week Peru raised its death toll from less than 70,000 to 180,000, making it the country with the highest number of deaths per capita in the world. The strict blockade last year plunged the economy into a deep recession, but failed to contain the spread of the virus, which aroused people’s indignation. Many voters wear plastic masks when voting.

Although many Peruvians were turned away by the two candidates and may wish to stay at home in view of the pandemic, voting is mandatory in this country of 32 million people.

“I will tear up my vote,” a woman told the Financial Times on the eve of the vote. “I just want to get rid of this farce and go home safely.”

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About the Author: Agnes Zang