Nationalist presidential candidate Ollanta Humala is forecast to get just under 30% of the vote in Peru's election on Sunday and face lawmaker Keiko Fujimori in a run-off, sources with access to two different polls said on Thursday.
The first-round vote will be held this weekend and the Peruvian currency Sol has weakened in recent days on worries that Humala, who has tried to recast himself as a moderate, would pursue high handed government intervention economic policies and roll back reforms in Peru's surging economy, which has been growing steadily for several years running, 9% in 2010.
An Ipsos poll showed Humala with 28%, while Fujimori had 21% of the vote intention. It showed that former President Alejandro Toledo and former Prime Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski each had 18%, one source said.
A second source confirmed Fujimori was favoured in the Ipsos poll to face Humala in a run-off vote scheduled for June 5.
A poll by survey firm CPI gave Humala 29% of the vote, followed by Fujimori at 21.5%, a third source with details of the CPI poll said. Kuczynski was 19.3% and Toledo at 15%, that source said.
Humala also leads polls by Datum and Catholic University. Those polls have a margin of error of between 2.2 and 2.8 percentage points. Under Peruvian electoral laws no polls can be released 72 hours before voting day.
Lawmaker Keiko Fujimori is daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori who is in jail for corruption and human rights crimes stemming from his 1990-2000 rule, when he cracked down on leftist insurgencies and halted hyperinflation. His name has a solid 18% to 20% support among the Peruvian electorate.
However both of the leading candidates have disapproval ratings of about 50% but are likely to make it to the second round as a moderate majority splinters between Toledo, Kuczynski and former Lima Mayor Luis Castañeda.
In 2006 Humala then an ultra nationalist candidate went to a run-off against current President Alan García. The 2011 Humala version has his in suit and tie of sober colours, none of the red-shirt that identified him with Venezuela Hugo Chavez. Furthermore this time he has political advisors from Brazil’s ruling Workers party and pictures of him with Lula da Silva and President Dilma Rousseff are easily accessible.
To further ease business suspicions about his political thinking, Humala has as campaign manager Felix Jimenez, a senior economic official in the Toledo presidency and a professor at the Catholic University of Lima.
“Humala can pull his rhetoric to the right all he likes in this election because politically he has nobody to his left” says political analyst Percy Medina. This rhetorical rightwing shift would explain his opinion-poll rise in recent weeks with votes which previously went to candidate Alejandro Toledo.
However sociologist Santiago Pedraglio is not so sure. He argues that the same protest vote which in 1990 preferred Alberto Fujimori to the highly presidential Mario Vargas Llosa found in Alejandro Toledo in 2001 the reply to Alberto Fujimori and voted for Ollanta Humala in 2006, is standing by this candidate today.