Peru election threatened by ‘authoritarian intervention’

CAMPAIGNERS have expressed “serious concern” over the failure of Peru’s electoral commission to register their international observers for today’s election.

Progressive International (PI), an international organisation uniting and mobilizing progressive left-wing activists and movements, had attempted to send their own delegation for the crucial vote, only to find themselves rebuffed last week.

Though they eventually reached the nation – and will observe today’s vote to ensure it is fair and verifiable – the lack of cooperation from the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones (JNE) is concerning, and sparked fears of “authoritarian intervention”.

Matt Kierkegaard, the PI’s mission chief, said: “The Progressive International has sent an election observer mission to Peru to help defend the popular sovereignty of the Peruvian people and to uphold democratic processes in this decisive election.

“We are alarmed by the lack of cooperation from the JNE, after successful engagement with the electoral authorities of Bolivia and Ecuador for their recent elections, to which the PI sent observer missions. The JNE’s lack of engagement is a cause for serious concern.

“Even now, we seek closer cooperation with the JNE to support it work to ensure transparent, free, and fair elections with competent, independent observation.”

Pedro Castillo, a left-wing teacher, is running against Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former dictator Alberto.

It is seen by many as a pivotal moment in Peru’s history.

With polls showing Fujimori just two per cent behind Castillo, every vote is likely to count.

They’re not only organising to make sure votes are counted, however, but “mobilising to defend democracy against (i) media beholden to the interests of the ruling class, (ii) scandalous tactics of legal warfare, and (ii) outright violence to seize power.”

There are already signs that the right-wing are colluding against the possibility of a socialist victory, making PI’s intervention even more important.

The organisation wrote on their website: “Just this month, Peruvian elites openly contemplated the potential for a military coup to prevent progressive reforms.

“In parallel, the far-right has called for the death of leading presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, and outright bans on parties that threaten the status quo from the left.

In a nation which now holds the title for the highest death rate per capita in the world from Covid-19, voters will choose between a return to the neoliberal 1990s or take a chance on a leftist firebrand in Castillo. Either way, standing up to political wings who threaten to reverse any vote is vitally important.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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