Lima, April 11 2021: The South American continent is battling a surge in infections fueled by new virus variants believed to be more contagious as mandatory voting commences in Peru after its most deadly week during the pandemic. More 54,000 have died.
There will be three times as normal polling stations and voters will be assigned time slots.
The whole populace is affected with 6 of the 18 presidential candidates have contracted the virus, including George Forsyth, former footballer, one of the leading contenders. It is a close competition where no one enjoys more than 10 percent of polled support with 62-year-old center-right contender Yonhy Lescano with a narrow lead, and only four percentage points between him and the seventh place candidate.
These will be the country’s most fragmented elections with a third of the voters as yet undecided. Close behind Lescano, according to polls, are leftist anthropologist Veronika Mendoza, conservative economist Hernando de Soto, Forsyth and corruption-accused Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori. Also in the running are ultra-conservative celibate Catholic Rafael Lopez Aliaga and far-left unionist Pedro Castillo.
With the country in dire need of stability and political upheaval, it appears likely the first election round will be inconclusive thereby making Peruvians wait until June 6 for a runoff round between the top two candidates.
Interior Minister Jose Elice said police would be deployed to ensure voters complied with anti-infection measures. “We are living in one of the most difficult and critical times in our history. Health, the economy, politics and even morality and ethics are in crisis,” caretaker President Francisco Sagasti said in a televised address, encouraging Peruvians to vote. According to Augusto Tarazona, the head of Peru Medical College, campaigning continued on Thursday in a routine way and political decisions won over health measures.
With the political future uncertain and corruption allegations in the upper echelons. During the pandemic, Peru’s economy contracted more than 11 percent in 2020, four million people lost their jobs and another five million dropped into poverty. The new president will be the fifth to hold the position in three years after three presidents fell within days of each other in November 2020 amid protests that had left two dead and hundreds injured.
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