Right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, has swept Peru’s presidential elections Sunday with 39.46 percent of the vote. In a run-off vote, she will face economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, whom she defeated by a solid 15 percentage points.
Fujimori and Kuczynski, who received 23.73 percent of the vote, according to Peru’s El Comercio newspaper, will face off in a final run-off vote on June 5. Fujimori appears a clear favorite, however, as she not only won the first round of votes by a wide margin, but Kuczynski won only two of Peru’s 25 administrative districts. Fujimori has been the frontrunner throughout the race; Kuczynski largely benefitted from the elimination of two other presidential candidates due to violations of election commission rules.
Keiko Fujimori has been a staple in Peruvian politics since she was 19 years old, when her father appointed her First Lady during a tumultuous divorce followed by a presidential campaign against his ex-wife, Susana Higuchi. She has since built an extensive political career in her own right as a longtime legislator with a reputation for being tough on crime and terrorism. Her rival served in the cabinet of former president Alejandro Toledo, who succeeded the elder Fujimori, and is a well-known economist.
Kuczynski may yet face severe scrutiny for his role in a business deal revealed by the “Panama Papers,” a 11.6 million document leak from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. In 2006, Kuczynski allegedly signed a letter of recommendation vouching for the legitimacy of Billingsley Global Corp., a shell corporation used by the governments of Venezuela and Cuba to buy state-of-the-art passport printing technology. Venezuela and Cuba were later both accused of using the Venezuelan passport system to falsify documents for members of the Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Kuczynski’s challenge in the second round will be building a new coalition of voters out of those who voted for neither Fujimori nor himself, but the array of far-left candidates that were unable to make it to the second round. A connection to the Panama Papers that may implicate him in an elaborate counterfeiting scheme benefitting Hezbollah would likely alarm many voters.
In her victory speech, Keiko Fujimori called for Peruvians seeking “change” to vote for her after five years of leftist President Ollanta Humala. “Peruvians are demanding a change… we must step on the accelerator of economic growth to reach the most far-flung populations [in Peru], and improve educational opportunities for millions of young people who just want a chance,” she said.
Fujimori also made a call to end the remnants of Marxist terror in Peru, particularly the Maoist terror group Shining Path. “We lament that this government has allowed delinquency to advance in the streets, and that Shining Path continues to shed blood in our country,” she said, condemning Humala’s government for allowing Shining Path to spread once again.
Shining Path has killed between 25,000-70,000 Peruvians since its establishment in 1980 but was largely eradicated under Alberto Fujimori’s tenure. Within two years of his presidency, Fujimori’s military arrested the leader of the group, Abimael Guzman, shaming him by displaying him in a cage and traditional prisoner’s uniform for the public to jeer at. The group was largely non-active until Ollanta Humala took power. Reports surfaced last year of a widespread resurgence of Shining Path in the nation’s rural areas, where hundreds of indigenous people had been enslaved by Shining Path terrorists, forced to grow coca leaf and bear child soldiers.
On Sunday, Shining Path terrorists bombed a government convoy transporting ballots to be counted in Junín region, killing eight Peruvian soldiers and injuring five others. Authorities confirmed that those associated with the bombing are related to Shining Path but noted that the terrorists who use the name today are more properly identified as narco-terrorists, and have largely abandoned Marxist ideology, and have little relation to the imprisoned Abimael Guzman.
In a Breitbart News interview in 2010, before narrowly losing the presidential race to Humala, Fujimori emphasized her support for more and more vigorous counter-terror operations, as well as stronger criminal laws. She was highly critical of amnesty laws for terrorists and told Breitbart News she supported the imposition of capital punishment in cases like child rape “where the victim is younger than ten years old.”
Should she become president, Fujimori will have a close ally as the head of the nation’s legislature: Kenji Fujimori, her younger brother. Kenji Fujimori was elected to head the legislature on Sunday by being the winningest congressman in all of Peru, as per the Peruvian constitution. In addition to running congress, he is to preside over the inauguration ceremony and place the presidential sash on the incoming head of state.