Election results: Peru: playing with fire | Opinion

Retired members of the Peruvian armed forces demonstrate in Lima last Tuesday for a
Retired members of the Peruvian armed forces demonstrate in Lima last Tuesday for “electoral fraud.”ERNESTO BENAVIDES / AFP

Almost three weeks after ballotage of June 6 between Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori, even without an official proclamation by the electoral authority, there are those who are tense the situation and pushing Peru to the edge of the abyss, to the breakdown of democratic institutions. Playing with fire, as if the country did not burn already.

The confrontational process promoted by those who do not want to accept the electoral results points to a transversal polarization in society. In a few weeks, certain spaces have regressed decades (or centuries) to inquisitorial times. Putting intolerance, racism and the most vulgar McCarthyism in the foreground. Calls for coups d’état are said and heard, unconstitutional requests to repeat the elections, lies everywhere, as well as cries of “communist” or “terrorist” against anyone who does not support the claims of these sectors. Tragic analogy with situations like those that, for example, preceded the Spanish civil war.

No one has been able to provide any support to the fraud thesis. This, despite the campaign undertaken by the virtual loser of the election, Keiko Fujimori, to try to convince people of this, the support of the mainstream media and the dedication – without success – of some of the largest Lima law firms in Lima. lawyers. The OAS, the EU mission, other international missions (about twenty), the Ombudsman’s Office, which in Peru is truly independent, have certified the transparency and quality of the electoral process.

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The US Government, for its part, has not only described the process as “free, fair, accessible and peaceful” but also as “a model of democracy in the region.” Timely – and unusual – qualification aimed at stopping the open threats of a coup d’état and, it is understood, of any other against the constitutional institutionality

The most qualified private entities in the study and monitoring of elections do not find support for the idea of ​​fraud either. Ipsos, for example, reviewed the 86,000 electoral records and found that the portion of “atypical” records was not only negligible (2.3%), but exactly the same magnitude for the benefit of both Castillo and Fujimori and that it did not affect the final result.

This being the case, and while the worst of hatred and confrontational spirits is promoted by this extremist sector, two dynamics that are spreading gallop today are particularly worrying: a great contradiction and a great intolerance. Dynamics not only tolerated but driven in part by people who once bet on democracy.

Great contradiction: those who do not want to recognize the results said that they would respect what the electoral justice resolves. Great if it were, but it’s not true. They have had to act with coherence and respect for the independence of that electoral justice and democracy, instead of demanding that it change the rules and procedures in full party.

Numerous attempts to delay the proclamation have come from the hand of drums of war, calls for a coup d’état and harassment against the electoral authority. With systematic attacks just for refusing the arbitrariness of changing the procedures and deadlines previously set by law in the middle of the electoral process. The latest move is to move from the coup to the “slow coup”: leaving the National Elections Jury (JNE) without a quorum with the resignation this Wednesday of a member who is related to them; resignation prohibited by law in the middle of an electoral process.

At the same time, these extremist sectors have encouraged organized and violent hordes to block the house of the president of the JNE, Judge Jorge Salas, for more than two weeks, since he is harassed and aggravated both by networks and the traditional media.

On the other hand, the great intolerance is worrisome: for those who do not want to recognize the electoral results, all those who respect the democratic process are “communists” and point out that one must abide by what the authority decides. They have proposed from a military coup, to forgetting the constitutional order and annulling the June 6 election and, now, to blocking the functioning of the JNE, leaving it without a quorum so that it does not finish its work and proclaim Castillo as president-elect.

In this corrosive dynamic, those who do not agree with these illegalities and traps, or if they affirm the obvious, that Pedro Castillo won the elections, becomes part of those people with whom one cannot and should not speak. And if the questioned comes from the Andean world, even worse. The worst expressions of racism are brought to the fore, as rarely before. Dangerous, then, that level of contempt for the indigenous, as for democracy, now exacerbated.

The country that led regional growth for a good part of the last twenty years is suddenly being returned to intolerance and barbarism. The breath of a military coup or an institutional breakdown in the middle of the bicentennial of independence is an outrage that no sensible group of officers would carry out. Not only because it would violate the Constitution, but because it would be unsustainable. It would lead Peru to international isolation, the collapse of its economy, and a course of civil war.

Wouldn’t it be good to hear the intellectual Mario Vargas Llosa put aside the silence about these real threats to democratic institutions? It is not on the sidelines, since it has been contributing — actively and intensely — to them, along with others who once fought for democracy.

Pointing in a different, positive direction, where could – should things – go so that Peruvian democracy does not collapse? They could go well in two times.

First, let the electoral authority finish the work that it needs by resolving a few pending appeals and proclaiming the winner. It is already clear who it is, and turning the page as soon as possible is the right thing to do. The clumsy imitation of Trump’s pushy and anti-law behavior of January this year is something no society deserves.

Second, governance. It should be the guiding principle of analysis and major decisions at this time, rather than the gratuitous generation of tension, bravado and unacceptable racism. How?

Getting out of the pit of confrontation and intolerance requires concerting. It is what Pedro Castillo will have to do since he is proclaimed. Both to arm the Government that should install on July 28, and to be able to govern later. Because not only does it not have a parliamentary majority, but it could find one at the helm who decides to make life miserable. You will therefore have to build yours in a segmented context with more than 10 political groups.

The good news: Peru has positive economic and fiscal conditions in the region. Good conditions, then, for significant public investment in health and education, two sectors that were notably Cinderella long before the pandemic.

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