General elections were held on April 8. In 2000, general elections were considered tainted because of President Alberto Fujimori's control over the government apparatus and outright vote tampering. When Fujimori resigned in September, new elections were convoked. After Fujimori fled the country in November, the elections became even more vital for injecting new energy into the weakened democratic system.
Since none of the eight candidates won 50% plus one vote of the valid ballots, there will be a runoff between Alejandro Toledo and Alan Garcia. It will be held on June 3. Alejandro Toledo of Peru Posible is the frontrunner, at least with a week remaining in the campaign, but it is far closer than anyone expected. Toledo was the presidential candidate who rallied most opposition support against Fujimori and he was to have confronted Fujimori in a run-off before Toledo decided to boycott the voting because it looked as if the government was rigging the elections. He is the frontrunner in the race. He has been challenged by Alan Garcia, the former president who ruled and ruined the economy between 1985 and 1990.
To understand the tone of the campaign, you have to keep your eye on the videotapes of spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos . Fujimori's intelligence chief and professional Rasputin had extensive dealings with Peru's economic and political elites, buying them off so that they would not challenge the Fujimori regime. A couple of times a week now, new videotapes come out and reveal more dirty deals. More than a few candidates live in fear of which tape will be pulled out of the vault for public display. Many people are simple feed up with the political system. Faced with the choice between Toledo and Garcia, as many as a fifth of the voters may spoil their ballots.
Peru Election 2000 and Peru Post Election 2000 websites provide excellent background on the elections.
Peru has a unicameral parliament that has 120 members. There are 25 electoral districts. Lima elects 35 members while the other departments (and the Constitutional Province of Callao) elect the remaining. Thirteen parties and coalitions have presented candidates, though not necessarily in all districts.
About 14.9 million Peruvians are eligible to vote, with 4.6 million concentrated in Lima. Voters must be at least 18 years old. Voting is obligatory until a voter is 70 years old. Not voting carries a fine of about $534. In congressional races, the vote selects a party and then casts a preferential vote for a member of the list.
About 255,000 voters residing abroad have registered to vote in these elections. About 90,000 live in the United States
Illiterates got the vote in 1979. The voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1978. Women got the vote in 1956. The vote was extended to all literate men in 1931. Prior to those changes, only male taxpayers could vote. The first modern election law came in 1891.
|Party||Presidential Vote||%||Congress Vote||%||Seats|
|Todos por la Victoria||33,080||0.31||191,181||2.03||0|
|Cambio 90 - Nueva Mayoría||452,360||4.80||3|
|Unión por el Perú||390,229||4.14||6|
|Total Valid Votes||10,601,740||100||9,421,097||100||120|
|Total Votes Emitted||12,164,364||100||11,983,314||100|
|Eligible to Vote: 14,906,233 - Absenteeism: 18.39%|
|Source: Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales|