Villarán, Flores schedule Lima mayoral debate for Monday

Lourdes Flores will debate her top rival in the race for Lima mayor, Susana Villarán, on Monday, Sept. 27, in what may be Flores’ last opportunity to turn around her ailing campaign ahead of the Oct. 3 ballot.

The debate is to be held in Lima’s Villa El Salvador district, Radioprogramas reported. The candidates are still negotiating a time for the debate.

After leading for most of the campaign, Flores was overtaken earlier this month by left-leaning candidate Villarán in opinion polls.

Recent polls show Villarán continuing to increase her lead over Flores following the release of an illegally recorded private conversation between Flores and her close political confidant, former Congressman Xavier Barron.

During the conversation, Flores told Barron that “the election doesn’t mean a damn,” among other things. The conversation followed the first poll that showed Flores losing her lead to Villarán.

At the time, Villarán had 33 percent support compared to 31 percent of voter preference for Flores.

However, opinion polls conducted after the Flores and Barron recording was broadcast, show Villarán’s lead growing fast with about 2 weeks until the election.

According to a poll by Ipsos Apoyo done on Sept. 16-17, Villarán now has 42 percent of voter support versus 28 percent for Flores, daily El Comercio reported.

In a poll by the Catholic University’s (PUCP) Institute for Public Opinion, 32 percent said they would vote for Villarán, while 26 percent said they would support Flores. In addition, 56 percent said they believe Villarán will win the election, according to daily La República.

Finally, a third survey conducted by polling firm CPI has Villarán with a 7 point lead over Flores. Villarán has 35.7 percent of support, compared to 28.1 percent for Flores. That poll was conducted from Sept.17-18 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

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