Peru are in the second round, just after a first round in which Pedro Castillo got 19% and Keiko Fujimori, 13%.
The high abstention in Lima, especially in middle-class neighborhoods, marked a course in which the big surprise was the emergence of Professor Castillo, who led a teachers’ strike in 2017.
Of course, while almost 20% of the country sees a change, the remaining 80% disagree.
This electoral result highlights the representativeness crisis that the country has been going through for more than 20 years, after the political reforms that transformed it.
Mark Lilla, American author of “Liberal Return”, underlines that in politics, there are exemptions.
As in the United States where Ronald Reagan launched the neoliberal dispensation, one could say in Peru that Alberto Fujimori launched a sort of authoritarian version of this political and economic current.
The Peruvian version was marked by a pragmatism which, although it was able to contain and channel certain problems and social movements, strengthening the economic aspects, had as a counterpart a deep erosion of the political system and the parties.
In Fujimori’s case, the pragmatic liberalism with which he decided and resolved his dispensation led him to break through and permanently destroy a system which, although not perfect, still made sense.
He thus eliminated bicameralism, which filtered the representative lower house with more experienced people, bought, with the help of his advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, the editorial lines of the media, and established the idea that political parties lacked content and without the necessary tools. Govern.
In addition, he held the parties responsible for the emergence of terrorism.
By shutting down Congress and creating a new constitution, Fujimori was able to adapt a country that was to be ruled by an autocratic president, with advisers and operators in the shadows, rigged elections.
The anti-system narrative struck a chord with voters who left party activity because, as Margaret Thatcher said, “there is no alternative”.
Fujimori believed that “traditional politicians” were ineffective and that he was the only alternative.
After Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo, Alan García in a second term, Ollanta Humala and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski went through the same Constitution.
Created in 1993, it had the advantage of asserting the free market, which certainly allowed the country to maintain a certain fiscal rigor and to grow reasonably, despite the shortcomings of an unfinished and shoddy state apparatus.
As a backdrop, none of these presidents addressed the crisis of representation because they tacitly assumed that there was no alternative.
That is why today, we Peruvians, we come to these elections with representatives who have neither agenda nor roots, and who lead parties that praise for the elections.
Meanwhile, occult forces, but not so much, as drug trafficking, illegal mines and political operators, now converted into agents of these interests, arise in the “back office” of political parties which are wombs for rent.
They manage the routes so that the hidden money, produced by corruption, as in the case of Lava Jato, or drug trafficking, can continue to perpetuate their interests.
Meanwhile, citizens remain without representation that structures their interests in favor of the development of the middle class and the real modernization of the country.
As if that weren’t enough, the government model deepened its crisis with a Congress that felt it could remove presidents on vague grounds of “moral incapacity,” as the 1993 Constitution stipulated.
This allowed Peru to have four presidents from 2018 to 2021: Kuczynski, Martín Vizcarra, who was Kuczynski’s deputy, Manuel Merino, who wanted to assume on behalf of Congress, constitutionally, but without popular legitimacy, and Francisco Sagasti, a moderate technocrat without scandals. of corruption that currently governs on a sort of autopilot.
Whether Castillo or Fujimori wins, Peru faces the real possibility that any president could be arrested at any time after brief pressure from obscure operators linked to fujimorism, aprism and drug trafficking.
In this context, citizen fatigue can lead them to accept a new authoritarian ruler who, as political scientist Steven Levitsky points out, makes limited use of the mechanisms of democracy to govern, in the form, a country that prefers authoritarianism. . Democracy, in the absence of a clear alternative.
Although Peru seems to be showing signs that the political cycle is drawing to a close, since Fujimori resigned from Japan by fax, the country has been living in democracy.
However, the facts indicate that this democratic continuity will not be maintained if the parties with national representation, which until now were the only alternative to govern a state, are not reorganized.
Political organizations with good foundations at the regional level, with legitimacy beyond money and which allow efficient management of the national territory, are necessary.
Castillo was the only one to have this type of organization.
Through the party apparatus of the National Committee for the Reorientation of Sutep (Conare), a dissident faction of the Unique Union of Education Workers in Peru, Castillo was able to articulate a platform at the national level around a statist agenda and rural demand.
This confrontation between the rural and the urban testifies to the deep fragmentation with which the Andean nation is confronted.
In addition, the founder of Castillo’s party, Vladimir Cerrón, who was prosecuted for corruption after serving as regional governor, has repeatedly said that Venezuela appears to be an example and a democracy, a fact that has sparked a reasonable concern.
Regardless of the next president, it is clear that if party organization is not reestablished as the norm for political action, we will soon have another authoritarian warlord.
Let us not forget that in Merino’s failed attempt to seize power last year, the police threw marbles and led the population totally disproportionately, resulting in the deaths of two people.
It speaks of deeply authoritarian traits that can give rise to even more dangerous rulers.