Close to victory in Peru, Castillo seeks to dispel the image of the radical left – 18/06/2021 – World

For nearly two weeks of the long wait for the decision of the national election jury on the outcome of the second round of the presidential election in Peru, Pedro Castillo, winner of the vote count, sought to moderate his speech.

In recent statements and in an interview given by his adviser, economist Pedro Francke, to the Spanish newspaper El País, the message is that left-wing radicalism will be put aside and that the position, in the future, will be closer. of the Center. left.

That tone, in fact, was already changing in the home stretch of the campaign – albeit in questionable ways.

At events and gatherings in the region of Cajamarca, his homeland, Castillo again repeated the package that made him known as a candidate: threats to close Congress, proposals to overhaul the Constitution and suggestions to nationalize companies that exploit the country’s natural resources.

In recent debates, broadcast on television and to a wider audience, however, he denied the idea of ​​nationalizing mining companies and tried to dispel the objection against private property. On the other hand, he went on to say that “the economic system must change and must be designed from the bottom up”.

Shortly before the second round, Castillo signed a pledge, the “Oath for Democracy”, with several points related to respect for institutions and freedom of the press. The document is based on a letter presented by Ollanta Humala, who entered politics via left-wing nationalist radicalism and was defeated in the 2006 elections. In the following elections, in 2011, in addition to the letter, Humala promised to calm the Peruvian establishment. Completed the agreement.

Francke, Castillo’s advisor, has stressed in recent days that nationalization, expropriation and price controls would be outside the government’s plan. “We are positioning ourselves a little more in favor of the market,” he said. He added that the model to follow would be Uruguay ruled by the center-left coalition Frente Amplio, which ruled the country from 2005 to 2020.

“The problem is that the uncertainty is so great on both sides that no one can say which model will be followed or what will happen,” political scientist Steven Levitsky, of Harvard University and Peru specialist, told Folha. . “I see a lot of fear on the part of the Fujimoristas and society in general about Castillo, including businessmen, the media, banks and the military. And also on his part, knowing that he is fragile and has few tools and power to rule, despite having won. “

Some signs of this widespread fear are visible in Lima. The director of the Onpe (National Office of Electoral Processes), Piero Corvetto, was harassed as he left a restaurant in an upscale neighborhood of the capital by supporters of Keiko Fujimori, the defeated candidate at the polls. The house of Corvetto has also been surrounded by Fujimorists who do not agree with the result announced by the electorate: a victory for the left, with 50.12%, against 49.87% for the daughter of the former dictator Alberto Fujimori.

The announcement of who will be the next president of Peru, however, still depends on the national electoral jury, responsible for analyzing the stakes of the voting records, since Keiko, immersed in a speech that there had been fraud in the election called for a consideration of 300,000 votes and the annulment of another 200,000.

Castillo, in turn, found himself cornered in the face of criticism related to the devaluation of the national currency, the sun, the more than 10% fall in the shares of Peruvian companies and the flight of capital – which were more than US $ 2.5 billion, or BRL 12.73 billion, since winning the first round.

“This is why he is approaching a more experienced left, more pragmatic and at the center of the political spectrum. Because his party [Perú Libre] they don’t have the technical staff to compose a government, ”says Levitsky. “The fact is that the fragmented situation of Peruvian political parties does not allow the formation of a system of coalitions, as happened in Uruguay or Chile during the Concertation. Governments. Castillo knows it, and you can see his fear of the establishment. “

In recent days, the candidate has sought to dialogue with the left represented by Nuevo Perú, whose leader is the former MP and former presidential candidate Veronika Mendoza, more experienced and whose support was definitive for the victory of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in 2016. Mendoza is a radical. opponent of Fujimorism and has around it politicians more experienced than the Perú Libre de Castillo.

The candidate also spoke with representatives of the Morado Party, in the center, to which current President Francisco Sagasti belongs and led by former presidential candidate Julio Guzmán.

The problem with making these approaches is to displease the legend’s own leaders and the most radical supporters. In Free Peru, some names oppose moderation of speech, such as its leader, Vladimir Cerrón, former governor of Junín, who was prosecuted for corruption.

Cerrón is an open defender of the Chavismo, as well as the acronym’s top, and of the “ronderos”, a paramilitary group with a strong presence inside and who follows a more dated left-wing agenda, dating back to the 1970s. orientation that Mendoza, for example, is very critical of him.

Levitsky also says he thinks Castillo’s situation resembles that of Alberto Fujimori when he came to power in 1991. “Fujimori was the outsider, he only had the popular vote and the support of voters in the interior, the whole establishment was against him, “he recalls the political scientist.

“A conflict of mistrust and attacks from both sides began, and it intensified to such an extent that Fujimori decided to shut down Congress. This is to be feared: an escalation towards the authoritarianism. “

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