Fujimori Maintains Lead for Presidency as Competitors Vie for Key Second Place

Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori is maintaining a strong lead in the polls three weeks before Peruvians vote, as three other candidates battle for the key second place finish in the first round.

Pollster GfK said that Fujimori had 33.8 percent support, well in front of her competitors. Former finance minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is at 15.9 percent, while Alfredo Barnechea, a former television journalist and congressman, is at 11.8 percent and left-wing candidate Veronika Mendoza is at 7.5 percent.

A survey by Ipsos on Sunday showed that Fujimori was ahead with 30.8 percent, compared to 15.1 percent for Kuczynski, 11.7 percent for Barnechea and 11.3 percent for Mendoza.

Finishing in second place is key as that candidate will likely face Fujimori in a second round vote. Fujimori is unlikely to win an outright victory in the first round, which would require more than 50 percent of support.

While Fujimori has a high floor of support, she also has a low ceiling due to stiff opposition to her candidacy due to her connections with her father’s administration in the 1990s that was tainted by widespread corruption and human rights violations.

The Ipsos poll showed, for example, that 46 percent of the population said they would definitely not vote for Fujimori, up from 34 percent in January.

That gives an opening to win the presidency for whoever comes in second place as Fujimori’s opponents will likely coalesce around the other candidate in a second round run-off vote. Polls have shown that Kuczynski could edge out a victory against Fujimori in a one-on-one race, while Barnechea and Mendoza would also be close.

Peruvians will vote on April 10 to replace President Ollanta Humala, who is constitutionally barred from running for a second, consecutive term in office.

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