Some 25 million Peruvians are set to choose the country’s fifth president on Sunday (April 11). They also vote for 130 members of Congress. Voting is mandatory in the Latin American country of 33 million but more than a quarter of respondents intend to leave their vote blank, don’t know who they will vote for, or won’t choose any of the candidates, according to an opinion poll published April 4 by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) for Peruvian newspaper La Republica.
“We are living in one of the most difficult and critical times in our history. Health, the economy, politics and even morality and ethics are in crisis,” caretaker President Francisco Sagasti said in a televised address Friday (April 9).
None of the candidates are polling over 10%, according to IEP and whoever becomes president will likely face a fragmented newly elected Congress with lawmakers from at least 10 parties.
“Unfortunately, I have to vote and choose one, but here we can’t even choose the least bad because all of them are bad,” 30-year-old photographer Abraham Medina told CNN.
Peru has been in recession since the second quarter of last year after a national lockdown shuttered businesses and crippled the all-important tourism sector. The economy contracted 11.1% in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to the International Monetary Fund,
four million people lost their jobs and another five million dropped into poverty. The Peruvian sol plunged to a record low 3.8 to the US dollar last month.
The new president will be the fifth to hold the position in three years after three presidents fell within days of each other in November 2020 amid protests that left two dead and hundreds injured.
Polls are scheduled to close at 7 p.m. (2400 GMT). An exit poll from Ipsos Peru and the first official results are expected by 11:30 p.m. (0430 GMT April 12).
With reporting by Reuters and CNN