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Peru to hold presidential elections

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Peru to hold presidential elections

Screen Shot 2021 04 10 at 12 51 31 PM
Photo: AP

Peruvians will vote for their next president today.

Electors are not backing any of the 18 candidates in large numbers. Yonhy Lescano, an economically populist and socially conservative candidate for the Popular Action (AP) party, has a slight lead over his competitors. Though Lescano is unlikely to receive more than 15% of the votes, he is expected to advance and win the June run-off elections.

Should Lescano win, his biggest challenge will be pushing reforms that accelerate Peru’s GDP growth. Peru has suffered from a 11% economic loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and has seen rising unemployment and a 6% increase in the poverty rate. To recover, a Lescano government would need to tackle the ongoing health crisis, increase public investment, and stabilise the currency.

If elected, Lescano would likely face significant opposition from Congress. As many as 11 parties could be represented in the newly elected body and AP will likely not gain a plurality. Given the need for Lescano to engage in deal-making and coalition-building to make progress, Lescano’s progressive policies may moderate. If the presumptive president resorts to shady deal-making to overcome executive-congressional stalemates, more corruption scandals may arise leading to further domestic instability and currency depreciation as foreign investors sell their Peruvian bonds.

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