Peru’s Keiko Fujimori leads a familiar cast of 2016 presidential hopefuls
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Peru’s Keiko Fujimori leads a familiar cast of 2016 presidential hopefuls

With nine months to go until the Peru’s 2016 elections, four veteran candidates are on top, as the issue of corruption remains high on voters’ agenda.

In an Ipsos poll released on Monday, Keiko Fujimori led six likely candidates for the Peruvian presidency, with 35 percent of voters saying they’d vote for the daughter of the ex-president.

Alberto Fujimori is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for embezzlement and “crimes against humanity” during his term as president from 1990-2000.

In 2011, Keiko Fujimori narrowly lost the general election to current president Ollanta Humala. Although considered the Conservative candidate in that election, she resented the label.

“They are trying to tag me as the right wing candidate, but if that were true, I wouldn’t have support from the poorest parts of my country,” she said in a 2010 interview.

“Political pragmatism,”

As the head of the political party Fuerza Popular, Fujimori is heir to the “fujimorismo” movement, characterized by political pragmatism. During the 2011 election, Fujimori favored neoliberal economic policies and expansion of the social safety net.

Among the questions facing Keiko will be whether or not she will pardon her father.

In May of this year, she denied that she would, but in 2013 criticized President Humala for refusing a pardon.

Trailing Fujimori with 15 percent is ex-finance minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, best known by his initials, PPK. He remains the only candidate among the top four to have officially launched a campaign.

Kuczynski’s 30-page government plan is focused on reducing poverty. Among his proposals are a system of agricultural and technical schools, universal health coverage, and a train system on the Pacific coast.

Comparto con ustedes uno de nuestros grandes megaproyectos de sistema de transporte que estamos dispuestos a…

Posted by PPK – Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Sunday, 19 July 2015

Former presidents Alan Garcia and Alejandro Toledo are also likely contenders, but are burdened by history. Over 80 percent of Peruvians consider them “mostly” or “totally” corrupt. Other probable candidates include Trujillo mayor César Acuña, ex-minister Daniel Urresti, and environmental activist Marco Arana.

Corruption scandal

The lead-up to the 2016 election has been marked by a corruption scandal involving first lady Nadine Heredia. In the wake of the scandal, her husband’s approval ratings have fallen to 19 percent. Of those polled, 52 percent consider corruption one of the top three problems facing the country. Only concerns about crime ranked higher.

Fujimori has come under fire for carrying large amounts of cash on 40 trips between Peru and the United States in the mid-1990s, allegedly given to her by her father to pay for her Boston University education, some of which never ended up in the school’s account.

The first round of elections will be held in April 2016, with a runoff between the top two candidates in June.

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Peru’s Fujimori found guilty in corruption scandal