Ask a Peruvian: Q & A about Peru’s Presidential Elections

I posted to my personal Facebook page photos from yesterday’s Peruvian Presidential Elections in Washington, DC, along with a little description about how compulsory voting works in Peru (and for Peruvians abroad) and what’s at stake this year. My blog post about the day can be accessed here.

I was surprised at how many of my friends were interested in learning more about the elections and how many had questions for J. Miguel. I thought I’d share their questions and his (and my) answers since it ended up being a really fascinating online discussion:

Q: My students were debating whether the U.S. should implement compulsory voting laws. I’m curious what J. Miguel thinks about it?

A: J. Miguel said that because Peru is such a small country, compulsory voting works. But he feels the U.S. is too big, and there are too many people both here and abroad to make mandatory voting a reliable option. Imagine the traffic and long lines — we can barely make things work as it is, and our country still has not come to an agreement on what is safe and accurate in terms of voting technology, to say the least.

Q: What kind of government is Peru likely to have in his opinion?

A: He thinks Keiko Furijmori will win, but he didn’t vote for her.

Q: Given Alberto Fujimori’s history there, I am a little surprised Peru is OK with another Japanese descendant.

A: I don’t think it has anything to do with being of Japanese descent. Peruvians don’t seem to fixate on that with regard to the Fujimori brand. I think Keiko has two things working for and against her: her father’s legacy and his baggage. From what I understand, Peruvians are either for or against her — there is no in-between — she is that polarizing.

In response to my answer: Kind of like Hillary [Clinton]!

In case anyone is wondering, as a result of yesterday’s elections, Fujimori easily advanced to the next round, although the race continues for those hoping to be the one elected to challenge her.


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