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García ‘s in the government, but is Humala in power?

[1]

By Maximiliano Borches (for Safe Democracy)

Maximiliano Borches suggests that the electoral victory of Peruvian President Alan García (social democrat) cannot be perceived as a political victory, considering the massive successes of the Union Party of Peru (Partido Unión por el Perú, UPP) and its leader, Ollanta Humala, who won the first round of elections. Analyzing the situation from this point of view, Borches attributes García’s victory to public fear that his opponent might win, and estimates that he will not be faced with an easy presidency. García has come to power in a political situation of extreme fragility, and must face the popular scrutiny and mistrust that many members of his new government are receiving. In order for García to be able to broaden democracy in Peru, he must reach a consensus within his country.


[2] Maximiliano Borches is a journalist and international analyst. He collaborates with different newspapers and magazines throughout Latin America and is the director of the journal “Horizonte”.

WITH A WINNING MARGIN OF ONLY 7 PER CENT and victory in only nine of the twenty-four regions of Peru, Alan García (social democrat leader of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance, APRA), who served his first term as President of Peru from 1985-1990, has returned to the presidential office again, sixteen years later.
García’s reelection, however, cannot be seen as a political victory, considering that the real winner of the elections happened to be the Union Party of Peru (UPP, Partido Unión por el Perú) led by García’s opponent, (and the winner of the first round of elections) Ollanta Humala.

THE RIGHT VOTES CENTER-LEFT
After a dirty political campaign, in which the actual discussion of ideas took a backseat to insults, dirt throwing, political smearing, and muck slinging of all kinds, Alan García won thanks to support from right wing voters who were forced, out of fear, to choose the lesser of two evils.

The greater evil is none other than the ex-military nationalist Ollanta Humala, candidate for the UPP, whose political popularity enjoyed a meteoric ascension from a measly 5 percent of promised votes in October of last year, to a victory with 31 percent of the votes in the first round of elections, to almost 47 percent in the second.

This amazing escalation of political support set off major alarms in the Peruvian political establishment, which proceeded, almost immediately, to attack him from all sides, including the adoption and support of their new pampered figurehead, Alan García.

CHÁVEZ´ S INTERFERENCE
Fear of Humala, first originated by the press, stimulated the flood of votes for García; votes which originally would have supported Lourdes Flores in her argumentation against the intrusion into the elections of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez (Washington’s new public enemy number one).

It is, therefore, understandable how Alan García turned out to be the winner in Lima, the most popular district of Peru, where he received 66 percent of the votes. He also won in the other Pacific Coastal districts where the main sectors of middle and upper class power are centered.

WEAK GOVERNMENT
But Alan García’s victory will come at a cost.

In the first place, he does not have a majority in Congress; the UPP won the Legislative elections (with 45 out of the 120 disputed seats), while the APRA has taken a secondary place as the biggest minority party.

Secondly, as García begins to form his new government, the representatives of Peruvian liberalism, who have decided to work against the political goals of the APRA, will claim strategic positions of power for themselves, and will therefore impede the formation of a national coalition necessary for García to govern. This will cause the interests of the 55 percent of Peruvians who live submerged below the poverty line, and the models of national coexistence of the 10 percent who enjoy a higher quality of life, to meet in an inevitable confrontation.

QUESTIONABLE OFFICIALS

García’s chosen vice-president will be the retired admiral Luis Giampietri, an ex-collaborator with the Fujimorista regime above who hang grave charges of Human Rights violations.

In 1986, as an officer in the Navy during García’s presidency, Giampietri orchestrated a military assault on the penal island of Frontón, which ended in the massive slaughter of prisoners accused of being terrorists. Giampietri has also proclaimed himself opposed to the trials of military personnel accused with Human Rights crimes, a subject that García has dodged throughout his whole campaign.

A SHORT HONEYMOON
The fragile political situation and the appointment of questionable officials to the new government of Peru could spread negatively to Peru’s municipal and regional elections at the end of this year.

It will be interesting to see how García’s political honeymoon (his first 100 days in office) begins and what measures the new president will take in order to reach a consensus that allows for the improvement and growth of Peru’s democracy.

All that we can do is hope that the political situation in Peru does not end up the same way that the one in Argentina did in the 90’s, when the newly elected president promised (much like García has) that he would not swindle his people. Years later, it was hardly a surprise when the very same president was later exposed to be nothing more than a first-rate swindler.

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