Ollanta Humala Expected To Win Peru’s Runoff Election
June 6, 2011 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Leftwing nationalist Ollanta Humala held a very narrow lead as of late Sunday night over conservative Keiko Fujimori in Peru’s runoff presidential election, according to exit polls. Though official results have yet to be announced, the Peruvian press is referring to him as “virtually” elected.
“The electoral results indicate — both rapid count and information offered by the ONPE (Peru’s electoral authority) — that we’ve won the presidential election,” Humala said in a press conference. “However, we’ll continue following the news until the official confirmation of the results.”
Transparencia, an independent organization observing the election, said in a press conference Sunday night that Humala led the race by 3 percent.
Peru’s National Office of Electoral Processes gave a Humala a much tighter lead, with 50.087 percent of the votes compared to Fujimori’s 49.913 percent, with 78 percent of the votes counted.
The majority of the votes counted so far come from urban polling stations, however. Humala enjoys more support that Fujimori in rural areas, so he is likely to pull ahead as the tally continues.
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera went ahead and called Humala Sunday night to congratulate him, though the official results had yet to be confirmed.
Humala’s election brings some uncertainty to the future of Peru’s economic model, which has followed free-market policies since the era of Alberto Fujimori, the country’s authoritarian president, who is now serving time for human rights abuses and corruption. Humala says he favors a greater role for the state in Peru’s economy, but he also says he will respect existing trade agreements negotiated by the outgoing administration of Alan García, including a free trade agreement with the United States.
Some observers, however, are not convinced that Peru will hold tight to its pro-market policies under Humala, who has yet to completely shed the far-leftist image he cultivated during a failed 2006 presidential bid. “There is really no reason for an investor to be hopeful. My sense is that the market, investors and the like will be on defensive,” Alberto Bernal of Bulltick Capital Markets in Miami told Reuters.
Spanish speakers can view a video of Humala’s remarks to the press Sunday evening after the release of the initial election results, courtesy of Peruvian daily El Comercio.
Just Published at the Latin America News Dispatch
- Unofficial results have Ollanta Humala winning Peru’s president election. To learn more about Humala, read Paul Alonso’s interview with him here.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- One of the most controversial and wealthiest politicians in Mexico was detained on suspicion of illegally keeping an arsenal of over 80 guns and automatic rifles in his home.
- Mexican authorities detained the alleged leader of the Zetas drug cartel in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo.
- Lawmakers in Alabama approved an immigration bill similar to Arizona’s controversial law.
- China signed a letter of intent to refurbish a Cuban oil refinery and agreed to give new credit and start drawing up a five-year cooperation plan between the two countries.
- Cuban pro-democracy activist Guillermo Fariñas launched a hunger strike – his 24th since the 1990s – to demand justice in the case of a fellow dissident.
- More than 2,000 Haitians who fled to the Dominican Republic after last year’s earthquake are returning home under a new program that offers migrants cash as an incentive.
- A U.S. high school student was killed by a hotel security guard in Costa Rica after allegedly being mistaken for a thief.
- Guatemalan authorities arrested 15 alleged members of the Zetas in the northern city of Cobán.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez called for an investigation into reports of the deaths of three prisoners in police custody.
- Colombian authorities killed a top-ranking FARC security chief in a move that President Juan Manuel Santos says is proof that the rebels could be systematically dismantled.
- President Rafael Correa announced Saturday that Ecuador plans to begin operating three oil fields in an Amazon preserve unless the international community contributes $100 million by December.
- Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupted Saturday, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and darkening skies with soot as far away as Argentina.
- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will consult former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on what to do about her controversial Cabinet Chief Antonio Palocci.
- A violent strike by subcontractors has slowed operations at Chile’s El Teniente, the world’s largest underground copper mine
Image: littonoma @ Flickr.