On April 10, Peruvians will vote for their next president, who’ll replace the outgoing Ollanta Humala. Voting is compulsory in Peru, so turnout runs high among the country’s 20 million registered voters. Still, some 70 percent of voters say they’re dissatisfied with the candidates running, and many voters make up their minds at the ballot boxes. This year, as in the United States presidential race, being a political outsider is an asset. Presidents in Peru can be reelected, although not to consecutive terms.
Also on April 10, Peruvians will cast votes for all 130 seats in the country’s unicameral legislature, as well as its representatives to the Andean Congress. For all races, if no single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff will be held between the top two candidates on June 5. The newly elected officials will take their oaths of office in late July.
Keiko Fujimori. Polling at around 34 percent, the runner-up to Humala in the last presidential election in 2011, Fujimori has been the frontrunner for the 2016 race since the summer. She is the eldest child of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori, and, in the wake of her parents’ divorce, served as Peru’s first lady while in her 20s from 1994 through 2000. The top reason her supporters plan to vote for her, per a February Ipsos poll, is that she’s a woman – 35 percent, followed by the 23 percent who say she’d be the best at reducing crime.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. Polling at around 17 percent, and also known as PPK, Kuczynski is an economist who’s served as prime minister, as well as minister of finance and of mining and energy during previous administrations. He’s also worked for the World Bank and in the private sector. Among his supporters, 41 percent support him because they say he’s the best candidate to improve the economy, while 32 percent appreciate that he has experience. PPK came in third in the 2011 first-round presidential race with 18.5 percent of votes.
Verónika Mendoza, polling at around 15 percent, she served one term in Congress, but resigned from the Peruvian Nationalist Party over a mining conflict in her native state of Cusco. Recently she has come under criticism for statements deemed sympathetic to the populist government in Venezuela, although she’s made a point to say she condemns human rights abuses and authoritarianism in that country.
Alfredo Barnechea. Polling at around 8 percent, Barnechea is a former journalist and congressman who represents a more moderate liberal philosophy in a field dominated by center-right candidates before the disqualification of Julio Guzman and Cesar Acuña. Barnechea was a television interviewer in the 1980s and journalist for the magazine, Caretas. Barnechea was elected to Congress with the APRA party, but resigned when President Alan Garcia proposed nationalizing the banks. After his term, Barnechea obtained his master’s degree from Harvard and worked for the Inter-American Development Bank.
Alan García. Polling at around 5 percent, previous president from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011, García has the lowest levels of support among the top candidates, with only 4 percent of voters saying they would definitely vote for him, while 67 percent say they definitely would not.
Others candidates. Daniel Urresti, a former general and, later, minister under Humala, represents the governing party and is Humala’s pick as his successor. However, he is currently on trial for murder. Alejandro Toledo, also a former president (2001–2006), has come back from the academic speaking circuit to run. Both Toledo and Urresti are polling under 2 percent.
César Acuña. (Note – In March, 2016, Peru’s electoral court rejected Acuña due to alleged improprieties during the campaign.) The professor, former governor, and congressman from the northern coastal state of La Libertad made his wealth as the owner and founder of three private universities; he also owns a soccer club. The February Ipsos survey had him polling at around 6 percent.
Julio Guzmán. (Note – In March, 2016, Peru’s electoral court rejected Guzman due to his party’s failure to follow procedures) Guzmán isn’t just a newcomer to politics, but also among the front runners; he broke into the top five candidates in polls only in January. Since then, support for the technocrat, has only gone up. He previously worked for the Inter-American Development Bank.