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Keiko Fujimori

Recent polls have placed Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a tie prior to Peru's run-off vote. pollster GfK on 04 June 2016 showed 51 percent of voters siding with 77-year-old former Wall Street banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and 49 percent for Fujimori. A 1.6 margin of error placed the candidates in a statistical tie.

Based on exit polls, local pollster Ipsos-Apoyo says Pedro Pablo Kuczynski would get about 50.4 percent of the votes cast, compared with 49.6 percent for his rival Keiko Fujimori. A survey by pollster Gfk showed Kuczynski winning by more than 2 points while a third poll gave Fujimori a small victory. Official results weren't expected until after 9 pm local time.

Peruvian presidential contender Keiko Fujimori had been seen beating rival Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in the 05 June 2016 runoff election, according to an Ipsos poll released on 29 May 2016, consolidating the lead she had gained in recent weeks. Fujimori, the 40-year-old daughter of imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori, was seen garnering 45.9 percent of votes, according to the poll published in local newspaper El Comercio.

Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former World Bank economist who narrowly moved onto the second-round election after coming in second to Fujimori ahead of a leftist rival, is seen getting 40.6 percent of votes. The Ipsos survey of 1,815 people has a 2.3 point margin of error up or down and was taken between May 26-27. Some 13.5 percent of voters were still undecided or planned to cast a spoiled ballot.

Although both candidates are fiscal conservatives with pro-market stances, their approaches differ greatly. She painted her opponent as an agent of big business who was out of touch with ordinary citizens. Kuczynski pledged an end to violence as well as corruption. "Peru is on the threshold of becoming a narco-state," he told supporters at his closing campaign rally in Lima - referencing Fujimori's father's links to organized crime, and death squads.

Keiko Fujimori’s main electoral weakness and chief electoral strength were one and the same: her last name. Fujimor tried to distance herself from her father's crimes, even going so far as to sign a pledge promising not to pardon him should she be elected president. As the daughter of Alberto Fujimori (president from 1990 to 2000), she inherited a loyal cohort of voters who e grateful for a president who brought economic stability by slaying the hyperinflationary dragon, and order and security by defeating the Shining Path guerrillas and their terrorism and destruction.

Another powerful reason underlying popular support for Fujimorismo stemmed from the clientelistic (asistencialismo, to use the more precise Spanish term) networks Mr Fujimori built during his decade in power, which cultivated the support of rural Peruvians as well as the urban underclass. The diehard fujimoristas are estimated at around 20% of the electorate.

Keiko Fujimori was born on May 25, 1975 to former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori and his ex-wife Susana Higuchi. She began her colegiate studies in Stony Brook University and ended up with a bachelors in Business Administration from Boston University in 1997.

In 1994 when just a teenager, then President Alberto Fujimori, named her the first lady of Peru after the divorce of her parents. Her parents split in an ugly episode in which her mother accused Alberto Fujimori of ordering her tortured. Keiko became the youngest first lady in the history of Latin America.

There are Peruvians of good faith for whom Keiko Fujimori is a legitimate choice. But Jorge Eduardo Benavides, an author whose works are centered on both post-Magical Realism and urban realism, noted that "in that dark period in our recent history, a dangerous idea took root in our society, the idea that governments are basically corrupt, that robbery, cheating, and roguishness are required tools for survival and success and, in short, that the definition of pragmatism is simple: efficiency without scruples".

She finished her studies at the University of Colombia where she obtained her Masters in Business Administration. With the inverstigations into her father beginning, she stayed out of the public eye and began starting a small business aimed at making use of Peruvian natural herbes as medicinals.

After her father was incarcerated in 2005 in Chile for corruption, bribery, and embezzlement, she returned to Peru to speak out on his behalf.

In 2006 she was elected to the National Congress and had been fighting to get her father out of jail since. The election results in 2006 were everything the Fujimoristas hoped for: a significant congressional bloc (at least the fourth largest in the next legislature), the most voted for congressional candidate (Keiko Fujimori), affirmation of large popular support for Alberto Fujimori, and the defeat of their most inveterate political opponents. Her stint in Congress was unremarkable, characterized by prolonged absences from her parliamentary duties and few legislative initiatives introduced in the chamber by the party caucus she led.

Her candidacy for the presidency began in 2009 and was supported by many Fujimoristas. Former president Alberto Fujimori was sentenced on 30 September 2009 to six years (concurrent) in prison for eavesdropping and other corruption charges, and ordered to pay nearly $10 million in civil reparations. Many analysts say Fujimori pled guilty in order to protect daughter Keiko Fujimori's 2011 presidential bid, but also because his being found guilty was all but a foregone conclusion. She has pledged that if elected she would pardon her father. She is the principal driving force behind the idea of granting a pardon to Alberto Fujimori.

A number of communique´s from academics and artists spontaneously emerged explicitly expressing rejection of Fujimori’s candidacy. This included a communique´by a group of Peruvian historians, an open letter by 50 writers led by Alfredo Bryce Echenique, another one by actors and cinema directors, and a final one crafted by political scientists.

Critics charged that voting for Keiko Fujimori was tantamount to granting legitimacy to a Government that is not only corrupt but also decidedly autocratic as was her father’s, and that in all probability, should Fujimori’s daughter win, would be no more than a continuation of his.

Keiko Fujimori enjoyed the support of many figures from sports and entertainment with much higher name recognition than members of the intelligentsia, as well as virtually all of the mass media outlets. The preference of the business community for her was overwhelming. The overwhelming majority of newspapers and TV stations ‘donned the Kimono’, that is, they unabashedly favored Keiko Fujimori’s candidacy. There was a concertedeffort to launder the image of Fujimorismo and of Alberto Fujimori’s tenure in office.

One main element of her campaign was the emphasis on public safety and the mano dura (strong-hand) tactics to tackle crime. Polls showed that crime was one of the main concerns of voters in Lima and other major cities. The Keiko campaign hired the services of New York mayor Rudolph Guiliani as a counselonant on crime policies.

The second round in the 2011 presidential elections presented two unsavory candidates of dubious democratic credentials. Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa warned that a second roundbetween Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori would be akin to choosing ‘between AIDS andterminal Cancer’, given the anti-democratic pedigree of both candidates.

Ollanta Humala was a former army lieutenant burdened by accusations of human rights violations who, additionally, led or supported two military uprisings. Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a convicted and jailed dictator unabashedly touted the legacy of her father’s authoritarian regime and surrounded herself with tainted fujimoristas.

Keiko Fujimori, cognizant that the legacy of her father’s government signified a burden in the effort to attract independent and centrist voters, repeatedly sought to chart her own independent path, insisting that it was she who was running for office and ‘not my father’. That line of defense was unconvincing. Only in the second round of the election did she, enticed by the need to attract more voters, timidly declare that ‘some mistakes’ had been committed during her father’s tenure and that they would not be repeated under her government.

Fujimori lost this election by just three percentage points to former military officer Ollanta Humala.

In the 2016 campaign, Keiko Fujimori remained the clear front-runner. The disqualification of two other leading residential candidates raised a stir in the South American country over questions of electoral fairness just one month ahead of the election. Julio Guzman, polling in second place behind front-runner Keiko Fujimori, was excluded from the race 08 February 2016 over internal party procedural irregularities, while Cesar Acuña, long one of the top five contenders, was disqualified over allegations of vote buying.

While Fujimori was the clear favorite, who would end up being her rival in a runoff vote was unclear. The polls showed that the disqualification of the two candidates locked in Fujimori’s lead, bringing her to almost 38 percent, with Kuczynski trailing in a distant second place with just over 10 percent of the vote.

In April 2016, her Popular Force party won 73 of 130 seats in the unicameral congress, which could make Fujimori the first president since her father to govern with a legislative majority. Critics said a Fujimori win, therefore, poses a risk to Peru's weakened system of checks and balances.

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Page last modified: 05-06-2016 20:47:59 ZULU