Rise in social conflicts related to upcoming elections, says official

An increase in social conflicts in Peru last month is partly related to the country’s upcoming elections, according to the head of the prime minister”s office for conflict management, Ronald Ibarra.

Ibarra told state news agency Andina it is likely that conflicts will continue to increase as Peru becomes closer to municipal and regional elections planned for later this year and the country’s national elections in 2011.

Ibarra’s comments follow a recent report by Peru’s public ombudsman – the Defensoría del Pueblo – that recorded 260 social conflicts in April, up from 255 in March and 252 in February.

There were 14 new conflicts in April. Seven of the cases were related to the environment and six to labor concerns. In total, 132 of the cases are related to the environment, 36 to local government, 29 to labor issues, and 20 to national government.

Southern Cuzco region registered the most conflicts with 21, followed by Puno and Lima regions with 20 each, and 18 for both northern Piura and central Junin regions.

Peru’s social conflicts have shot up from 84 in July 2006 – a month after President Alan Garcia was elected as APRA’s presidential candidate in a runoff election – to its peak of 288 in September 2009.

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