Peru’s 2011 Elections: A Vote for Moderate Change

Issue Date October 2011
Volume 22
Issue 4
Page Numbers 75-83
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International and domestic observers alike were astonished by the results of Peru’s recent presidential election. In the 5 June 2011 runoff against Keiko Fujimori, Ollanta Humala, the 2006 runner-up, won office with 51.5 percent of the vote. The 2011 presidential contest—the third since the fall of fujimorismo—highlighted both the scope and limitations of the democratic gains made in the last ten years. Is it a contradiction to say that Humala’s victory stemmed from the volatility of the electorate even as the socioeconomic profile of the typical Humala voter remained remarkably similar from 2006 to 2011? Does the continuity of a humalista vote undermine an explanation based on the contingency of electoral volatility and sustain the thesis of a vote motivated by discontent with the system?

About the Author

Martín Tanaka is senior researcher at the Institute of Peruvian Studies and an associate professor at the Catholic University of Peru, where he directs the political-science undergraduate program. He is a weekly columnist for the newspaper La República and coeditor (with Francine Jácome) of Challenges to Democratic Governance: Political and Institutional Reforms and Social Movements in the Andean Region (in Spanish). This essay was translated from Spanish by Brent Kallmer.

View all work by Martín Tanaka