Freedom or authoritarianism. This was the dilemma faced by the citizens who participated in the electoral processes carried out in Mexico and Peru last Sunday, June 6. In Peru the second round to elect the President of the Republic took place, and in Mexico the Chamber of Deputies, local congresses and some governorships and mayors were renewed at the federal level.
The last vote was the resource used by millions of voters in Mexico to try to prevent President Manuel Andrés López Obrador from obtaining a qualified majority in the Chamber of Deputies, with which he intended to obtain a greater concentration of power by making constitutional changes; and in Peru to try to close the way to the Presidency to a man who intends to re-found the country from its foundations with a radical leftist program, which foresees, for example, “to end the Constitutional Court on the spot.”
In Mexico López Obrador was stopped, but the opposition does not have control of the Chamber; and in Peru, socialism – or narcocommunism – is one step away from being installed in the presidential seat.
Peru, less than 1% of votes will define the election
In Peru, the communist Pedro Castillo and the liberal Keiko Fujimori literally dispute the presidency of the country vote by vote. All the minutes have already been computed and the official results, published by the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), report that Castillo obtained 50.20% of the valid votes, and Fujimori 49.79%. The difference between one and the other is less than 1%, to be exact 0.41%, just 71 thousand votes.
The electoral authority has not yet proclaimed the winner and the process may be resolved in court. Fujimori asked this Wednesday, June 9, before the electoral tribunal for the nullity of 802 polling stations nationwide that represent about 200 thousand votes. The National Elections Jury (JNE) began that same day the national vote count, a normal procedure in the country’s electoral processes, and should analyze the candidate’s appeal in the coming days.
Fujimori has raised the thesis of a “systematic fraud”: members of Castillo’s party, Peru Libre, and its allies have intentionally produced irregularities in a certain number of tables, not many to avoid disqualifying the entire election, but enough to give them advantage against the tight margin in which the candidates reached the final stretch.
For the Peruvian analyst Carlos Polo, director for Latin America of the Population Research Institute, the communist strategy is to sell a victory that has not yet occurred. On the same day of the election, at a time when Fujimori appeared in front of the first partial results of the ONPE, through a tweet, Castillo asked his followers to “go out to the streets” to defend his victory by contributing to a greater polarization of the environment.
An element that complicates the current scenario is the image of Jorge Salas Arenas, the president of the JNE, the electoral authority, tarnished by accusations of defending some members of the Shining Path (SL) a few decades ago. He denies “being a lawyer for terrorists” but says that he provided legal services to “persons accused of terrorism”, and rejects the “communist label”, although he acknowledges that he had links “with a left movement” in the past. Some see him as an ally of Castillo, who is also accused of ties to terrorists.
If the candidate of the leftist Peru Libre, affiliated with the São Paulo Forum, is confirmed as the winner and applies the program he announced in the campaign, we will contemplate an attempt to “reformulate” the country from its foundations, destroying its institutions, calling for a Constituent Assembly, and concentrating power in the hands of the most radical left in the country; If the Fuerza Popular candidate achieves a victory through the judicialization of the election, she will have a weak government, under constant suspicion of illegitimacy, subject to intense pressure and facing a “molecular revolution” similar to the one we have seen in Colombia and Chile. In both cases, the country will experience an extraordinarily delicate situation; but the first scenario is clearly more serious than the second.
Mexico, a brake on the road to the Imperial Presidency
In case of Mexico, what was at stake was, above all, the control of the Chamber of Deputies of the Federal Congress. President Manuel Andrés López Obrador wanted his party, the National Regeneration Movement (Morena), achieve total control of the Lower House with a qualified majority (two-thirds, 334 of the 500 deputies) to introduce changes to the Constitution that would allow him, for example, to be reelected and to have a greater concentration of power. It did not work out. Morena lost 50 deputies and was left with 203. Before, the party alone had simple majority, now for this they would need 95 more seats, which they hope to have from their allied parties. The second most votes went to the Conservative National Action Party (PAN), which instead of 79, now it will have 117 deputies in the Chamber.
A good part of these results is the product of an intense citizen effort that, in the face of the totalitarian threat, opted for using the most simple and pure tactic: voting. Thousands of organizations promoted voting in each electoral district for the candidate who had the best chance of defeating Morena’s candidate. The result was positive, but below expectations as the opposition didn’t obtain majority in the Lower House. Regarding the protection and promotion of life, the family and fundamental freedoms, the outlook is still uncertain because there are several candidates with a doubtful profile who have now acquired seats in the Lower House. We will only get the definitive answers in the coming months.