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Peru's Ollanta Humala: The Rise and Limits of a Left-Wing Political Outsider
LASA paper (2007)
  • Maxwell A. Cameron, University of British Columbia
The unexpected rise of radical nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala in the Peruvian general election of 2006 took many observers by surprise. Despite winning a 31 percent plurality of the vote in the first round, however, Humala lost in the runoff, by a margin of 47 to 53 percent, to Alan García Pérez of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA). Since the early 1990s, Peru has been governed by a succession of political “outsiders,” a trend that has taken a heavy toll on the nation’s party system and democracy. The irruption of Humala, especially in the context of economic growth, demonstrated the continuing vulnerability of the party system to assault by outsiders, exposed discontent with the economic status quo, and revealed the fragility of post-Fujimori Peruvian democracy. Yet Humala lost in the runoff campaign because election rules worked against him and, more importantly, voters in Lima opted for García’s promise of “responsible change” because it offered an alternative to the status quo that threatened neither democratic nor macroeconomic stability. As a result, Peru did not join Latin America’s “left turns,” but many of the same forces that contributed to the success of left-wing candidates elsewhere were clearly at work in Peru too—starting with the inability of the right to capitalize on successes, and attenuate the weaknesses, of the neoliberal model.
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Publisher Statement
This is the original English version of an that appeared in the journal Convergencia.
Citation Information
Maxwell A. Cameron. "Peru's Ollanta Humala: The Rise and Limits of a Left-Wing Political Outsider" LASA paper (2007)
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