The presidential elections are over. Ollanta Humala is the new president of Peru with 52% of the vote. The people have spoken. Most of the affluent voted for Keiko Fujimori. Most of those living in poverty voted for Humala. There are many more poor voters than affluent voters. Although I didn’t support him in the elections I’m a pragmatic person. I support him now and hope for the best.
One of my good Peruvian friends, Luis, told me he was going to vote blank to protest having two undesirable candidates to choose from. I begged him not to throw his vote away. “No one will even notice if you vote blank.” Make a difference, vote for Keiko. Luis burst into my office on election day to inform me I was correct. He did make a difference. He very proudly declared, “I voted for Humala.” There is the margin of victory. Many intelligent Peruvians that were undecided or thinking about voting blank did their patriotic duty and voted for the least objectionable candidate, and that candidate was Ollanta Humala, the new president of Peru.
Another friend of mine runs a restaurant that a certain high ranking military officer frequents. A month before the election, when the polls showed a statistical tie, too close to call, the General told my friend that it was a, “Foregone conclusion that Humala will be the next President”. I don’t know what to think about that?
It’s not clear how much power Humala can wield. Out of the 130 seats in congress, Humala’s Gana Peru party has 47 representatives. One of his first new skills to learn will be coalition building. A former president, Alejandro Toledo, an expert on coalitions, is showing him the way by offering Humala an alliance with his centrist political party, Peru Possible, with 21 representatives, which would form a small majority, and if it lasts, could be a moderating force on Humala’s nationalistic tendencies. I really think it is Toledo’s first diplomatic move toward running for president again in the next election.
Like all politicians, Humala promised more than he can deliver. The little group of hippies and gypsies here in Iquitos all seem to think they will become ministers of finance, or at least have enough disposable income to buy better drugs and that the “gringos and chinos” will go away. The reality will soon become apparent and they will feel disillusioned.
My dream is free compulsory education through at least 12 years, a national health care program with an emphasis on birth control, a minimum wage of S/700 per month, a free computer with high speed internet for each family, and for the hippies, gypsies, and my wife and I to have the opportunity to participate in Peru’s cultural and economic renaissance.
The Results, Ollanta Humala Is the President of Peru
Bill Grimes, reporting from Iquitos Peru. Stay tuned for what happens next.