From Mensaje magazine via Mirada Global, a look at the two candidates who are vying for the presidency of Peru in a June 5 run off: Ollanta Humala, a military nationalist, and Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimoro, who is in prison for murder:

What seems to be quite clear after the results of the [initial April 10] elections is the volatility of the Peruvian electorate. It is a characteristic that political scientist Jorge Aragón believes is directly linked to the party system: “The nature of the political parties explains why voters today ‘are on the loose’”. They are instrumental groups that get together and separate every year and who appear extremely weakened after having ruled the country. It’s been a very clear characteristic in the last years, as well as in this last election. The APRA only won four of the one hundred and thirty seats of Congress. An electorate that is defined as “passionate” is therefore prone to be lured by “last minute offers”.

However, Aragón considers that real problem is not that Fujimori and Humala are competing for the presidency of the country, as many believe: “The problem is that his has happened in a weak political system. There are many actors here who have an ambivalent relationship with the democratic system”.

Millions of Peruvians refuse to forget the Alberto Fujimori years [1990-2000], where the practice of corruption was institutionalized and human rights were violated. On the other hand, Humala’s support of the “andahuaylazo” —his brother Antauro’s attempted coup against Toledo in January 2005, which ended with four dead policemen— makes many people mistrust the democratic credentials of the candidates.

Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy