Poll leader Humala says will respect Central Bank independence, FTAs

Ollanta Humala. Source: CPN

Presidential candidate Ollanta Humala, who recently overtook opponents in opinion polls less than two weeks before Peru’s general elections, said he would respect the independence of the Central Bank if elected, financial daily Gestion reported.

Humala, the leader of Peru’s leftist Gana Peru alliance who favours more state control in the economy, also said he would respect Peru’s international accords, including free trade agreements.

Humala has been a sharp critic of the FTAs pushed through by the administrations of former President Alejandro Toledo (2001-06) and current President Alan Garcia.

In addition, Humala said he would not seek re-election if voted in on April 10. “I won’t govern one day more than the five year period,” daily La Republica reported him saying. 

Critics of the nationalist candidate have voiced concern that if elected he may seek re-election, much like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.   Peruvian presidents are not allowed to seek two consecutive terms in office (following President Fujimori’s re-election for a third term 1990-1995-2000), but some politicans have suggested amending the Constitution on several points –namely to recover the State’s right to play a greater role in the economy- and this has raised fears that the re-election issue might also be changed.

Alejandro Toledo

In the 2006 presidential campaign, Chavez was a vocal supporter of Humala, who was narrowly defeated in a run-off vote to President Garcia. During this campaign, Humala has tried to reinvent his image and distance himself from Chavez, but opponents consider his platform at least as radical as in 2006.

Despite the promises, Peruvian markets still took a hit on Monday after polls were released showing Humala had taken first spot in the campaign.

The Lima stock exchange BVL fell 5.16 percent to close at 21,095.67 points, its biggest drop since June 22, 2009. The bourse has declined 9.7% so far this year.

On Sunday, polling firm CPI released its most recent survey that showed Humala had overtaken former president Alejandro Toledo for the top spot.

Keiko Fujimori

According to the survey, Humala had 21.2 percent support. He is followed by Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori at 19 percent and Toledo with 18.6 percent.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who has held various cabinet posts and was the chairman of First Boston International, has 16.1 percent, while Luis Castañeda, Lima’s ex-mayor, has 15.5 percent.

A second poll, released Monday by firm Ipsos Apoyo, shows a similar trend with Humala leading at 22.8 percent, followed by Fujimori at 22.3 percent and Toledo at 21.6 percent. Kuczynski, known as PPK, has 15.8 percent and Castañeda has 15 percent.

The Ipsos Apoyo poll was taken from March 19-25 in 24 of Peru’s 25 departments and has a margin of error of 2.2 percent.

According to Ipsos Apoyo director, Alfredo Torres, Humala’s sudden rise in the polls has largely come at the expense of Toledo, who has just as quickly fallen.

With less than two weeks before the election, all indicators are that Humala will continue to rise in the polls, although it is unlikely that Toledo will keep decreasing, according to CPI general manager Manuel Saavedera. Toledo could begin to regain support, Saavedera said.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent support on April 10, Peruvians will elect their president in a second round run-off vote between the top two candidates in June. The new president will assume office on July 28.

One Comment

  1. It will be the worst and bigger mistake to vote for mr Humala. So many years of economic stability will despair , please peruvians think before you vote.

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