In the midst of an extreme polarization exacerbated by the pandemic, 18 candidates contested elections in which fragmentation prevailed, to the point that the winner in the first round did not reach 20%. This suggests that the political crisis of governability will be a constant in the next period, making the need for a constituent solution more urgent. All the competing right-wing forces sought to fill the vacuum of political representation that the regime has been suffering for some years; together with this, to prevent the advance of an alternative for change by focusing their batteries against Verónika Mendoza, who appeared to be at the top of the polls. And they did their job, but the action of the right wing is not enough to explain JP’s defeat.
The mediocre performance of Sagasti’s government pulverized the aspirations of the options that were presented as centrist (Forsyth, Guzman, Salaverry, Acuña). In a crisis situation, stability is the least important thing, people prefer to take risks by opting for disruptive options. Those who positioned themselves at the extremes capitalized on the discontent in one way or another. Keiko on the right, Castillo on the left. The situation did not allow for “center” solutions, it was necessary to radicalize the discourse. This implied, from JP, to connect with the anger of the people expressed in dozens of fights throughout these years.
The first challenge was to reclaim the south where radicalism was expressed in 2016 in the overwhelming vote for Vero and then in January of this year in the vote for FRAPAP and UPP which was a protest vote. The second challenge was to unite the urgent measures in the face of the health emergency with the fundamental solutions, focusing on the need for a New Constitution and sovereignty over our resources. In this process, to assume an openly confrontational attitude with those responsible for the crisis, businessmen and right-wing politicians who profit from the misfortune of our people.
In light of the results, it is obvious that Castillo knew how to better express this radical anti-systemic attitude, while JP’s campaign had a moderate slant which in the end took its toll on us. Many of our proposals in the face of the emergency marked the field, such as the Universal Bonus, tax on large fortunes, elimination of tax stability contracts, among others. But contradictorily, the call for a strategic pact with businessmen, the salute to “our” Armed Forces and police, as well as the announcement of remaining in the Lima Group, when Argentina had already withdrawn, gave signs of seeking a certain understanding with those responsible for the crisis.
Whether we like it or not, this contributed to blur the proposal for change that Vero and the PJ represented in these elections. Undoubtedly, a period of collective reflection is now open to deepen the balance and draw all the lessons without renouncing our commitment to build a new left from New Peru. And in relation to the second round, the only thing left to do is to close ranks with Professor Castillo, without giving a blank check. There are issues in which a firm position is required from the left, in the first place no pact with the right. It is necessary to put an end to the “pragmatism” that everything is justified in order to get there. Or with the “realism” that ends up adapting to the system. The people have said their word, they want a profound change, that continues to be our north.