Candidates to debate poverty, employment, security and drug trafficking

Presidential candidates will debate on April 3 their proposals to lower poverty, increase employment, as well as improve security and combat drug trafficking, Lima-based NGO Transparencia said Thursday.

The debate will be held at 7pm at the Sheraton Hotel and will be moderated by journalist Jose Maria Salcedo, state news agency Andina reported.

In addition to the three topics to be debated, candidates will also have an opportunity to present their general outlook for their administration if elected to lead Peru.

Eleven candidates are running for Peru’s presidency. However, only the top five will participate in the event in order to give them more time to discuss their proposals.

The race between the top five candidates – former president Alejandro Toledo, Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori, Nationalist leader Ollanta Humala, Lima’s ex-mayor Luis Castañeda, and former prime minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski – has tightened in the final days ahead of the April 10 vote.

The debate will be crucial for determine which two candidates pass to a run-off vote, as it is unlikely any candidate will receive more than 50 percent support in the first round, author Gustavo Rodriguez told Ideeleradio.

“I think that this debate is going to be more important than other years because there are still a lot of undecided [voters]. It is getting smaller, but they are still there and they are going to determine the election,” he said. “So for me it is clear that this debate is going to be more crucial than other years.”

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