Former footballer George Forsyth, who leads the polls by a small margin for the presidential election of April 11 in Peru, received this Friday (5) the authorization to stand for election.
The National Electoral Jury (JNE) overturned the decision of the electoral body of Lima, which had vetoed the former athlete to be a candidate by default in the declaration of assets. “They didn’t even want a new party, with new people, with experienced people, to compete, not even dare to compete,” said Forsyth, celebrating the JNE’s decision.
Opposed to debates and conversations with the press, Forsyth preferred to use social media to campaign. TikTok is one of his favorites, in positions where he plays football with children, plays with his dog and rehearses the dance of the Oompa-Loompas, the employees of the “Fantastic Chocolate Factory”.
After his electoral disqualification, however, he began speaking with the mainstream media, exposing his repudiation to the electoral tribunal, calling the decision that had taken him out of the race a “dirty war” and “political persecution”.
“The old political leaders and the media said that we were going to fall in the polls a year ago. We didn’t fall and we kept the first place. So now, fraudulently, they want to get us out of. The We will appeal and we are still in the elections, ”said in an interview with the newspaper El Comercio.
Forsyth, 38, was born in Caracas and is the son of a Peruvian diplomat and a former Miss Chile. He rose to prominence as a goalkeeper for popular club Alianza Lima, which helped him be elected mayor of La Victoria district, which is part of the Peruvian capital, in 2018.
He does not say “neither right nor left” and presents himself with the typical formula “outsider”, which wants to manage the country with technicians and directly with the people, without associating with the traditional parties.
Morally, he presents himself as a conservative – against same-sex marriage and abortion.
Besides Forsyth, the JNE has also given the green light to two other candidates opposed to the veto, among which the ultra-conservative businessman Rafael López Aliaga, who likes to call himself “Peruvian Bolsonaro”. Thus, there will be 18 who will run for president on April 11, in elections that will also renew Congress after recurring political crises since 2016.
The figure of the former goalkeeper has grown a lot in the past year in which Peru has plunged into a crisis of political instability, with Congress and the executive making it impossible to achieve, which has led the fall of then-president Martín Vizcarra and his successor Manuel Merino de Lama until the country attains its fourth president in a single term: Francisco Sagasti – who will not stand for election.
His support has dropped, however, and Forsyth now leads the contest with 11% of voting intentions, down from 18% in December. He is only one point ahead of former lawmaker Yonhy Lescano, according to the Ipsos poll. Both are center-right, but in Peru traditionally ideology doesn’t matter, but the candidate.
They are closely followed, at 8% each, by two women at opposite ends of the political spectrum: dual presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori (populist on the right) and Verónika Mendoza (on the left), a former lawmaker and also a presidential candidate. .
Daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, Keiko responds to corruption cases, one of which relates to the accusation of having received Box 2 from Odebrecht during her participation in the 2011 elections.
Six other candidates hold between 7% and 3% of the voting intentions, including the leader of the centrist party of President Sagasti, the economist Julio Guzmán (4%). The image of the current president has deteriorated since taking office, with the promise to give the country some stability until the elections. When he took office in November, he had a 44% approval rating. Today it is 38%.
Voter polls also show strong rejection of contestants – so-called “anti-voting” (would definitely not pick the candidate) ranges from 43% to 72% for eight of them.
A third of Peruvians have yet to decide who to vote for and analysts expect the dispute to be resolved in the second round, in June, at a date yet to be defined.