Monthly Archives: April 2016

Chile – Constitutional Court Rejects Labor Reform of President Bachelet

When Michelle Bachelet, of the Partido Socialista (PS) and larger Nueva Mayoría alliance, came to power in March 2014, she did so with nearly 63 per cent of the vote, although low turnout deprived her of a commanding mandate for change. Nonetheless, President’s Bachelet ambitious legislative agenda included major educational, taxation, electoral and labor reform.

Educational reform and alterations to Chile’s infamous binomial electoral system were always going to be difficult given the requisite constitutional majorities, but yesterday, President Bachelet’s hard-fought labor reform was halted in its tracks by Chile’s constitutional court. The Court, with 6 in favour and 4 against, ruled that the legislation, which was designed to aid organized labor in a country that saw labor weakened during the period of market reform, was unconstitutional.

The reform, which was only passed by the Senate in April and which caused divisions in the ruling coalition, Nueva Mayoría, sought to establish labor unions as the principal agent for collective bargaining. In effect, it was an effort to overturn the alterations to the labor code undertaken by the military dictatorship of General Pinochet in 1979, which saw Chilean organized labor significantly weakened and side-lined.[1] Members of the conservative right-leaning opposition opposed the legislation however, and filed a motion challenging aspects of the reform with the Constitutional Tribunal.

It was specific codes of the new provision that the Court objected to: the stipulation that companies must negotiate only with labor unions during wage talks; the prohibition on the extension of negotiated benefits to non-unionized works; and compulsory intercompany trading. Although opposition legislators hailed this decision as a victory, unsurprisingly, the government and labor unions were harshly critical of this outcome, with unions suggesting it could lead to labor unrest.

This comes at a bad time for President Bachelet. She has been seeking support for her larger legislative agenda, and her popularity has plummeted a long way from the eighty plus rating that she enjoyed towards the end of her first term in office. Her administration has been beset by a number of corruption scandals, one of which involved one of Chile’s largest corporate entities, Penta Group, and the right-leaning Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI). More significantly however, one of the scandals involved the President’s own son, Sebastián Dávalos. Dávalos was accused of using his political influence to arrange a US$10 million bank loan for his wife’s firm, Caval, which then used the funds to purchase land in central Chile that was promptly resold for a profit. This has left the Chilean electorate generally dissatisfied and unhappy with the political elite and the institutions of the state.

So what happens now? The government has two options: they can either withdraw the legislation altogether or they could effectively veto the Court’s decision. The Court has until May 9 to return the legislation, with their recommend changes, to the government. President Bachelet will then have 30 days to send the now altered legislation back to Congress, or to veto the alterations of the Court and re-send the original bill back to the house. In this scenario, the opposition could of course then challenge the legislation in the Court once again.

This means that this dispute could rumble on for quite a while unless some form of compromise is found.

[1] See for example, the chapter by René Cortázar in Labor Markets in Latin America, edited by Sebastian Edwards and Nora Lustig.

Chad: What next after the reelection of President Deby for a fifth mandate?

Incumbent president Idriss Déby in power since 1990 has been reelected for a fifth mandate, running against 13 other candidates. He won 61,56 % in the first round of the presidential election on April 10, according to preliminary results published by the election commission on April 21 that have to be validated by the constitutional court. The runner-up, opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo, won 12,80 % and Laoukein Kourayo Médard, mayor of Chad’s economic capital Moundou, won 10,69 % of the votes. Turn-out among Chad’s six million voters was an estimated 71 %.

Was this a credible election? Was it a vote for stability, in a country located in a turbulent neighborhood? Or is Chad at increased risk of internal turmoil in the absence of political leadership renewal?

The elections took place under an “online blackout” with the internet cut and SMS service suspended. There was no European Union (EU) observer mission this year, contrary to the legislative polls in 2011, and the African Union (AU) mission that deployed deplored the “absence of national and international observers on Election Day.” The AU mission, headed by former interim president of Mali Diouncounda Traoré, found that “Globally, the presidential election was an opportunity for citizens to freely choose their leaders … in a peaceful climate within the legal framework in place.” A cause for pause is the fact that Déby is the current chairman of the AU. Moreover, Mali – and Diouncounda Traoré personally – is indebted to Déby for the role Chad played in freeing the country from Jihadist occupation in 2013.  The opposition has complained of fraud and alleged that “Hundreds of ballot boxes have disappeared.” More than 40 members of the Chadian security forces are reported to have gone missing, with the bodies of four members found in the Chari River. Their disappearance was supposedly in retaliation for their voting against Déby, as the military voted one day early. An accusation denied by the government.

With the legitimacy of the election outcome challenged by the opposition, Idriss Déby starts his fifth mandate in a weakened position. While Déby is seen as a key ally by the West in the fight against terrorism, he has faced growing internal dissent over the past couple of years. An economic crisis fueled by falling oil prices, social dislocation in the Lake Chad area caused by Boko Haram attacks, and growing intra-religious strains feed mounting social tensions. According to the IMF, Chad will be Africa’s slowest growing economy in 2016 with an expected negative GDP growth rate of -0.4 %.

A coalition of civil society groups, “Trop c’est trop” (enough is enough), which came together to champion citizens’ welfare issues, such as the rising cost of living and widespread corruption [see earlier post here], has increasingly adopted a political change agenda. In an effort to oppose Déby’s candidature for reelection, the coalition partnered with another network Ca suffit (That’s enough), which includes workers’ unions, to successfully organize a general strike in February that locked down N’Djamena and Moundou and disrupted economic activities in provincial towns. Four civil society leaders were promptly arrested. February also saw extensive protests following the gang-rape of a 16-year old girl for which sons of army generals and other members of the elite stand accused. At least one demonstrator was killed. The scale of these protests has been described as “without precedent in Chad.”

Perhaps feeling the lack of love, one of Déby’s campaign promises was to reintroduce presidential term limits that were removed in 2005.  “Today nothing requires us to remain in a system where changing leaders becomes difficult … In 2005 the constitutional reform was conducted in a context where the life of the nation was in danger,” he stated at a ruling party convention. With his reelection secured, it remains to be seen whether Déby will keep his promise and prepare for a succession.

Mark Bennister – Hillary Clinton: Managing the Rhetorical Double-Bind

This is a guest post by Dr Mark Bannister, Senior Lecturer in Politics, Canterbury Christ Church University

Hillary Clinton is in a unique position, having occupied four of the most important and symbolic public offices in American politics. This is not the end of course as she may yet hold a fifth role, that of President. As she enters the campaign ‘home straight’ analyses of her readiness for the highest office are plentiful. A critical skill for any political leader is the ability to communicate to a variety of audiences. Rhetoric and oratory represent the means by which a politician can persuade, navigate and often manipulate the relationship between the rulers and the ruled. In a new book on Democratic Orators from JFK to Barack Obama Aristotelian modes of ethos (appeal based on character), pathos (emotion) and logos (logic) are used to examine the rhetoric of Democratic Party politics since the 1960s. My contribution to the volume evaluates the oratory of Hillary Clinton, drawing on her prolific public speeches in her political career up to the launch of her second presidential bid.

Women and oratory

Women have not figured strongly in the history of political oratory. Men were not only the ones in Western society  most likely to be in the jobs that gave  occasion for  speeches; they were, with very rare exceptions, also the ones educated to give them, and the ones whose speeches were most likely to be written down. Not only constrained by educational opportunities, women (as feminist scholars stress) have to contend with power structures that have historically limited women’s voices from being heard at all.

Women therefore suffer from a gendered double bind in the use of rhetoric in political speeches: talk tough – conforming to leadership norms – and risk sounding too masculine, use feminine emotion – conforming to gendered notions – and risk sounding weak. This is all part of the multiple dichotomies and contradictions associated with Hillary Clinton, within a context of difference and dominance. Women in leadership positions, or aspiring to lead, are required to conform to male expectations often magnified by the demands of wartime leadership or institutional. Hillary Clinton did seek to manage this gendered Catch 22 by initially drawing on masculine rhetoric as a ‘fighter’, whilst using indirect methods to display emotional appeal.

Hillary as public speaker

Clinton has generally not been lauded for her oratorical skill; her success in public office has not been due to any sharp and succinct rhetorical techniques. Her style, was initially prosaic and tended toward lengthy and complex responses to questions; an understandable approach given her legal training. This caused some difficulty for Clinton as journalists constantly searched for tools to misrepresent her: the 1992 “cookies and tea” comment is the most infamous example of reporters excavating a juicy sound bite from and circulating it regardless of the fact it misrepresented the statement as a whole. The extrapolation of this seemingly innocuous quote, taken out of context and used to make ‘Hillary an issue’ alerted her to potential rhetorical pitfalls based on gender.

Yet, it is perhaps due to the oratorical bind, through which we consume oratory via only a masculine paradigm, which means her oratory appears more prosaic, less effusive and uninspiring. There have been flashes in a career – ‘women’s rights are human rights’ (1995) and in her 2008 concession speech in Washington – when the confluence of the occasion and the words was most evident. Gendered analysis of her speeches has seen her occupancy of positions of power, responsibility and influence open her up to charges that equivalent male politicians would never face.

Adapting to the situation

Hillary Clinton has been a prolific public speaker in a variety of roles – from delivering the first student commencement speech at Wellesley College in 1969 to defending her actions over Benghazi in Congress in 2013. She was – and still is – a powerful orator, able to generate appeals based on logos and her connection with social issues to establish appeal based on ethos. Less evident was her pathos though she deployed classic rhetorical techniques which were more evident over time to project her image and policy. Much of her rhetorical success has been based on the ability to adapt her oratory to the position she held and the situation, helped in no small measure by her close coterie of advisors. She was comfortable on the international stage pushing the universal human rights agenda as First Lady and later as State Secretary. She could engage in the combative arena of partisan party politics as a Senator and then as a genuine presidential candidate. Perhaps her greatness rhetorical success was to continually face down her critics and many detractors, usually with dignity and poise. Adopting in particular ‘conflict’ and ‘journey’ metaphors she projected her ‘authentic self’ through her rhetoric – often using proxies – bound up as she was in a constant struggle to prove others wrong and take on new challenges to ‘keep going’..

Transcending the double-bind?

Utilising rhetorical techniques to manage the ‘double bind’ proved problematic. Still bounded by a male dominated arena, Clinton has been channelled by context, environment and advisers into deploying tough, largely uncompromising language. Rather than transcending the double-bind, she has been linguistically caught up in it, not least when presenting the case for military action and over emphasising her ‘experience’ (as with the backfiring ‘3am phone call ad’). Her pathos and femininity only appeared to shine through once she was freed from playing the tough role assigned to her and expressed a more expansive and inspiring form of rhetoric in her concession speech in 2008 ’the glass ceiling now has 18million cracks in it’. Up to then she had eschewed such fripperies keen to stress experience (ethos) over vision (pathos). Depending on the outcome of the current presidential campaign, we will see if her rhetoric can make the transition into the highest leadership role, breaking new ground again.

Democratic Orators from JFK to Barack Obama (2016) edited by Crines, A.S., Moon, D.S., Lehrman, R., Thody, P. is published by Palgrave

Austria – Political earthquake as candidates of far-right and Greens win first round of presidential elections

On Sunday, 24 April, Austrian were called to the polls for the first round of presidential elections. Norbert Hofer, candidate of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), was the surprise winner with 36.4% of votes and thus 15% more than predicted by opinion polls. Hofer will now enter a run-off with Alexander Van der Bellen, a formally independent candidate supported by the Greens. Candidates of the government parties SPÖ and ÖVP which dominated Austrian federal politics since 1949 failed to make an impression on the voters and only polled a combined 22.4%, signalling a potential end to the politics of grand coalitions in Austria.

Results of the first round of presidential elections in Austria, 22 April 2016_presidential-power.com

The latest opinion polls before the election had predicted a relatively secure lead for Alexander Van der Bellen and a closer race for second place between Hofer and independent candidate Griss. Nevertheless, from the beginning of the election it was clear that Hofer had gained significantly more votes than expected and would enter the run-off while Van der Bellen and Griss would compete for second place. Although Van der Bellen eventually finished 2% ahead of Griss, her third place is still remarkable. Griss, a former president of the Austrian Supreme Court, was largely unknown to the Austrian public only a year ago and is not connected to any party (she received some indirect backing from the liberal NEOS party). Her result is also the best ever won by an independent candidate in Austrian presidential elections, surpassing previous record-holder Gertraud Knoll and her 1998 result of 13.6% by almost 2%. As expected, support for Andreas Khol (ÖVP) and Rudolf Hundstorfer (SPÖ) as candidates of the governing parties remained low and both eventually received considerably less votes than predicted. After the combined vote share of SPÖ and ÖVP candidates averaged 89% 1951-2010 and never dropped below 63.4%, their combined vote share of just 22.4% is a clear signal that voters have become tired of the parties’ political dominance. The construction entrepreneur and Viennese socialite Richard Lugner (independent), whose campaign was widely ridiculed (or least not taken seriously), only received 2.3% of the vote – 7.6% less than in his first candidacy in 1998.

votes for candidates by voters' party support in the 2013 parliamentary elections

Source: Austrian Press Agency

A look at voters’ party support in the 2013 parliamentary elections shows the reasons for the weakness of candidates of established parties and the success of others. Both Khol and Hundstorfer were not able to mobilise a significant amount of voters beyond their core electorate and many ÖVP and SPÖ voters instead turned to other candidates. Hofer’s votes, too, mainly relied on the FPÖ electorate; however, he was also able to get votes from a number of other parties. A similar picture emerges for Van der Bellen – although 46% of his votes came from voters who already voted Green in 2013, he otherwise received support from voters of almost all other parties. The distribution of 2013 preferences among the voters of Irmgard Griss underscores her appeal across the political spectrum (despite generally centre-conservative policy positions). Although votes for Lugner also came from voters of a variety of 2013 preferences, he seems to have gathered the non-constructive (because inconsequential) protest vote.

All three front-runners tried hard in their campaigns to present themselves as anti-establishment candidates. For Griss, the success of this strategy is hardly surprising as she lacks a party affiliation and clearly differed from candidates in her rhetoric. It is much more surprising that Hofer, a prominent representative of the FPÖ, was able to make the same strategy work for him. A post-election survey showed that his youth (with just 45 years he is the youngest candidate) played in his favour. Furthermore, the ostracization of his party on the federal (and international) level aided his success. Van der Bellen, too, is a veteran politician and very much part of the political establishment, yet due to the marginal position of the Greens (they have not been part of any municipal, state or federal government so far) this seems to have mattered less for his voters. Van der Bellen also managed to mobilise the greatest absolute number of previous non-voters – 84,000 voters who did not vote in 2013 came out to vote for him while Hofer and Griss only mobilised 49,000 and 44,000 respectively.

After the announcement of results, all parties and candidates who failed to advance to the second round (except Griss who is still consulting with her team) declined to make a voting recommendation for the run-off. SPÖ and ÖVP, clearly shaken by the miserable performance of its candidates, thereby appears to try and keep their options open for a (further) decline in support at the next parliamentary elections in 2018, the strengthening of the FPÖ and the resulting necessity for forming different coalition. Although the possibility of early elections was mentioned regularly during the election night, this seems generally unlikely – a major reshuffle in the cabinet and at the helm of both parties on the other hand will likely take place soon. Neither Hofer nor Van der Bellen can be sure to win the run-off and need to continue campaigning hard.

Last, both candidates promise different ways of how they will behave in office (for a slightly different assessment, see here). Although both will be in cohabitation with the SPÖ-ÖVP government, Hofer is more likely to a more active president and use the formally considerable powers of the office (which includes the right to dismiss the government at will). Particularly in the run-up to the next parliamentary elections, Hofer could try to highlight perceived failings of the coalition parties and openly campaign for his party  – something office-holders have so far refrained from doing. Although analysts highlighted last night that in the past Austrian voters were reluctant to vote for either SPÖ or ÖVP when they already nominated the president (implying a reversed tailcoat effect), the days when voters could make such strategic decisions are now over – electoral fragmentation has risen steadily over the last decade and will most likely continue to do so in 2018. Hofer also threatened to dissolve the parliament should he win the election, yet this would be an unprecedented move and experts still argue about whether it would in fact be possible. In contrast to Hofer, Van der Bellen is much less likely to be active. First, the electoral potential of the Green party is limited (particularly in rural Austria) and seems to have reached a natural ceiling in the last elections when it gained 12.42%. Second, Van der Bellen is clearly opposed to a strengthening of the FPÖ. While he might decline to swear in a government after the elections that includes the far-right, he would need to be very careful not to lose too much of the ‘independent image’ created during this campaign and become the target of FPÖ’s anti-establishment campaign.

Campaign 2016: Delegate Counts and Contested Conventions

News about the 2016 presidential race in recent weeks has seemed to focus on one topic more than any other—delegates to the national conventions. While the news media and voters often get caught up in the excitement of a candidate winning a primary in a particular state, the reality is that it is the number of delegates secured, and not the number of states won, that determines each party’s nominee. To complicate matters, Democrats and Republicans have different sets of rules to determine delegate allocations in each state.

All Democratic contests are proportional based on voting results, though the party also relies on “super delegates,” which are party elites (for example, current members of Congress, party officials, etc.) that make up 15 percent of the total delegates. They are unpledged, meaning they support the candidate of their choice at the convention. On the Republican side, some contests are winner-take-all, while others are proportional or winner-take-most (based on how each candidate performs at the congressional district level). However, in order to secure either party nomination, a candidate must receive the support of a simple majority of the delegates at the convention. If this does not occur on the first ballot, then successive ballots occur until a candidate reaches a majority.

Why all the attention to the delegate selection process this campaign cycle? For decades, neither political party has experienced a “contested” convention, which simply means that no candidate has secured a simple majority of pledged delegates prior to the convention, and the outcome is not certain to be determined on the first ballot. Republicans last experienced this in 1976, when President Gerald Ford did not yet have a majority of delegates due to the strong challenge from former California Governor Ronald Reagan in the primaries. For Democrats, their convention in 1968 represented great uncertainty. While Vice President Hubert Humphrey had the most pledged delegates at the end of the primary process, he had not competed in any state primaries, instead earning his support through state caucuses whose delegates were determined by party leaders.  Senators Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy has been competing for delegates in the primary contests, but following Kennedy’s assassination in June after winning the California primary, his delegates remained uncommitted going in to the convention. Both Ford and Humphrey would earn their party’s nomination, but both would lose in the general election.

Where does the current delegate count stand? For the Democrats, after her win last Tuesday in the New York primary, it is increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will secure a majority of pledged delegates prior to the end of the Democratic primary process in June (the last contest is the District of Columbia on June 14). Clinton currently has a pledged delegate lead of 1446 to 1200 for Bernie Sanders. However, that lead is extended greatly when super delegates are also counted. To date, Clinton has secured 502 super delegates to Sanders’ 38. That means that Clinton only needs 435 remaining delegates to reach a majority of 2383 delegates. Sanders has stated that he has no intention of leaving the race, and his supporters have voiced numerous complaints about the use of super delegates as undemocratic. It should also be noted that the FBI investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State is still pending, and the timing and outcome could play a role (though this is impossible to predict with any certainty).

For Republicans, the chance of a contested convention still looms over the race. While Donald Trump won New York, and nearly all of its delegates, the total number of pledged delegates for all other Republican candidates is still slightly higher than Trump’s total. To date, Trump has 844 delegates, Ted Cruz has 543, and John Kasich has 148. However, before exiting the race in March, Marco Rubio had also earned 171 pledged delegates. Trump is the only candidate who has a realistic chance of securing the majority of 1237 delegates prior to the convention, but while several states this week look promising for Trump (like Pennsylvania and Connecticut), other states into May and early June look promising for Cruz (such as Nebraska, Montana, and possibly Indiana). The big prize of California on June 7, which is winner-take-most, could be the deciding factor, though it is a closed primary for Republicans and that has tended to favor Cruz.

Most experts agree that without a majority of delegates heading into the Republican Convention, Trump might not be able to secure the nomination on the first ballot. This is due to his lack of ties to party leaders as well as the fact that the Cruz campaign has been much better at securing their preferred delegates to be the actual people who attend the convention. Many delegates become unpledged after the first ballot (this depends on state rules; some states require a third or later ballot for delegates to be released from their pledged candidate), which would then give Cruz, Kasich, or even a candidate who has not been running for president to convince a majority of the delegates on the convention floor that they represent the party’s best chance of winning in November. Trump has called the process “rigged,” and while that message certainly resonates with his supporters (many of whom appreciate his status as a political outsider), the nomination cannot be secured without a simple majority of votes on the convention floor.

To understand the current dynamics of the presidential campaign, it is important to remember that despite criticisms from some campaigns and their supporters about voters being disenfranchised through delegate allocations, the nominating process for political parties was never intended to be a shining example of democracy. Instead, it reflects the preferences of the party itself, and while the rank-and-file voters are a part of that equation, so too are party officials and other elites (commonly, and often pejoratively, called “the establishment” in this campaign cycle). And, despite the fact that the news media and political pundits love to predict the outcome of elections well before voters (or in this case, delegates) get their say, the 2016 campaign has already proved that anything can happen.

(The New York Times provides an excellent summary of the entire delegate count for all candidates at http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/us/elections/primary-calendar-and-results.html?_r=0).

South Africa – Calls multiply for President Zuma to resign

In recent months, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has limped from one political crisis to the next. Last December, Zuma’s decision to replace his respected finance minister with a little known backbencher met with strong opposition, and plunged the economy into a tailspin. Many feared this was a move aimed at freeing Zuma’s hand to loot public coffers and pay off his close business associates.

The President’s reputation took another hit last month when members of the Gupta family, owners of a sprawling business empire in South Africa, allegedly offered the current deputy finance minister the top post in the Treasury. Both the Guptas and Zuma denied these allegations, with Zuma affirming that he took responsibility for all government appointments.

With that scandal still smouldering, South Africa’s Constitutional Court dealt Zuma a fresh blow. The Court ruled that Zuma’s refusal to abide by the Public Protector’s binding recommendation to repay public funds used to renovate his expansive Nkandla estate went against the constitution. Zuma promptly apologized for the “frustration and confusion” that the long-running scandal caused, but this did little to calm the public outcry.

Only days later, parliament debated an impeachment motion brought by the leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA). While ANC MPs stood together, ensuring the motion failed, the debate itself—broadcast live—revisited all the corruption allegations levied against Zuma. Moreover, it was not opposition politicians alone targeting the president. Shortly after the impeachment proceedings concluded, a number of ANC veterans joined the chorus calling on Zuma to resign.

The public anger directed at Zuma has its roots in a more deep seated fear that his presidency has brought on a new era of ‘state capture.’ The influence of politically well-connected business elites appears to be growing as they become more embedded in predatory patronage networks. The Gupta’s embody this trend. In March, the current finance minister refused to appear at a meeting of business leaders to be held under the banner of the Gupta-owned New Age media group. Once the association was dropped, the meeting went ahead, whereby the minister warned, ‘There are many parts of transacting between government and business which have gone seriously wrong, and if we don’t stop it, we’re going to become a kleptocracy.’

Concern over spreading corruption is also reshaping the political map in South Africa. With local elections due in August, the ANC’s risks losing its long-standing hegemony across a number of urban strongholds where frustration with poor service delivery has grown. This may give rise to an urban-rural political divide. As the leader of the DA warned, ‘You could end up with a scenario… where the liberation movement governs in rural areas through patronage, and in urban areas people are making decisions on the basis of different choices.’

While many observers suggest a big loss for the ANC in August could spell the end for Zuma, others are more sceptical. Zuma still enjoys strong support among rural branches of the ANC, particularly in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal. This local level support reduces the likelihood that the ANC National Executive Committee, the party organ with the power to oust Zuma, will in fact force his resignation.

However, even if Zuma does survive through to the end of his term in 2018, he may struggle to anoint his preferred successor, his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. This could leave the path clear for the current Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, which according to some might help the ANC reset. Ramaphosa is far from Mr. Clean, though, and it is uncertain whether the challenges currently facing the ANC can be remedied through a simple change of guard.

While the political malaise deepens, the economic crisis facing South Africa—whose credit rating is teetering on the edge of junk—shows little sign of abating. Indeed, the political and economic unease go hand in hand, leaving South Africans much the worse for it.

Turkish Cyprus – Governing coalition collapses: turbulence once more

While the Republic of Cyprus prepares itself for the General Election on Sunday 22 May, the Turkish Cypriots (TCs) have lost their coalition administration once again. The right-wing United Cyprus Party (UBP) walked out of the coalition with the centre-left Republican Turkish Party (CTP), saying that the logical coalition is between the (centre-right) Democrat Party (DP) and them. CTP’s Omer Kalyoncu has handed his resignation in to the TC ‘President’, Mustafa Akinci, and UBP’s Huseyin Ozgurgun has already taken over. Several sources are calling for early elections but it seems clear that the beneficiary would be bound to be the new party, HP (The People’s Party), headed by Kudret Ozersay, former negotiator.

Since the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in 1974 and the de facto partition of the island in two national territories, 37 different ‘governments’ have administered the so called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – a state only recognized by Turkey – indicative of an unstable regime. The average duration of these governing coalitions is 12 months and 11 different ‘Prime ministers’ have served in office.

The reason behind the recent turbulence and the collapse of the government coalition is the changing relation between the TCs and Turkey. At the heart of this debate is the squabble about the economic protocol for 2016-2018. The economic protocol resembles a memorandum between Turkey and the TCs based on which financial help from Turkey is given to the ‘TRNC’. Some (right-wing) political forces argue that this protocol brings northern Cyprus into line with the EU. Many TCs though and especially leftist political parties fear both about the neoliberal character of the measures provided in the protocol and ultimately about the mere survival of TCs worrying that Turkey’s authoritarian rule is imposed in northern Cyprus.

The centre-left CTP, although holding until recently the ‘premiership’ and under pressure from their leftist internal component, questioned aspects of the protocol on issues such as the privatisation of water supply, economic strategy, the autonomy of local administration, etc. The right-wing UBP on the other hand withdrew their support for the coalition protesting against the CTP for jeopardizing their good and life-giving relationship with the ‘mother-land’.

Beyond the superficial emphasis on party competition and the different strategies adopted by political actors there are obviously deeper issues at stake which permeate the relationship between TCs and Turkey, as many analyses suggest. One such issue is the way Turkey is treating the ‘TRNC’ in recent years, especially since T. Erdogan’s rise to power. Turkey seems determined to terminate the peculiar welfare state of the TCs which was built in the aftermath of the 1974 invasion and upon which a system of extensive political clientelism has developed. In this way, Turkey aims to facilitate the infiltration of the Turkish capital in the TC community as a means to control it.

A second and related issue is that Turkey does not appear to trust leftist forces to become the vehicle of transforming the TC society given their strong resistance to Turkey’s programme. Upon this second premise rests the third issue which refers to the renewed call for uniting the right in a single party. This of course entails a process of transformation for the right in order to keep pace with the new realities in the TC community, large parts of which demand autonomy from Turkey and claim their right to decide for themselves. Their urge to find solutions is also prompted by the sudden rise of Ozersay’s HP which polled 21% in the recent ‘presidential’ elections, whereas a recent poll indicates that the HP would score almost 40% if elections took place today.

The change in government however could have negative implications for the ongoing negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Both parties that form the new government are well-known for their hard-line position on the subject and it is anticipated that they will cause problems for the TC leader and negotiator Mustafa Akinci. One such example is the intention of these parties to grant citizenship to a number of Turkish settlers (around 25,000) amidst the ongoing negotiations, something that the former centre-left CTP denied.

Craig Allen Smith – The Surfacing Stage of the 2016 American Presidential Campaign: A Status Report

This is a guest post by Craig Allen Smith, Professor Emeritus of Communication at North Carolina State University. It summaries his book, Presidential Campaign Communication, 2nd edition. Cambridge: Polity, 2015.

Portions of this research were reported at the annual conference of the Central States Communication Associaton in Grand Rapids, Michigan (April 15-16, 2016).

American presidential campaign communication is a series of rhetorical transactions among three sets of participants: Citizens, Campaigners, and Reporters. Their trialogue unfolds in four functional stages — Surfacing, Nominating, Consolidating, and Electing — during which participants trade words and symbolic actions for attention, campaign resources, and votes (Smith, 2015). The purpose of this report is to assess the Surfacing stage of the 2016 campaign preparatory to the Nominating stage.

2016 Surfacing: November 2012-February 1, 2016

Surfacing crystallizes the campaign as participants rhetorically constitute its rules, issue publics, news habits, and candidacies. For 2016 these included the primary, caucus, and convention schedules; the parties’ delegate allocation rules, and the rules and  schedules for televised debates.  Additionally, several states enacted photo ID laws to prevent “voter fraud” that complicated voting by minorities.

Issue Surfacing

The Surfacing trialogue produced two competing rhetorical agendas as Democrats and Republicans debated different issues. Both Newsweek (Mosendz, 2016) and The New York Times (Keller & Yourish, 2016) posted visualizations of the parties’ different issue spheres. Democrats argued about income inequality, Wall Street’s influence, education, criminal justice, race, women’s right, energy, and the environment. Republicans argued about excessive government, the Constitution, the legacy of Ronald Reagan, religious liberty, gay marriage, immigration, military power, Israel, North Korea, and China. Additionally, the Republican candidates exchanged (frequently undignified) personal attacks whereas the Democrats contested policies. Reporters rarely raised the same issues with the two parties’ candidates, thus exacerbating the polarization between the partisan communities.

Gallup (2016) tracks Citizens’ perception of the “most important problem” facing the US, and we can consider as “issue publics” the clusters of Citizens around each problem. Sustained campaign communication should theoretically (a) narrow the range of problems deemed “most important” and (b) grow the publics most worried about a handful of problems.

Comparing Gallup’s February polls from 2015 and 2016 confirms neither expectation. Although ten issues still accounted for 80% of Americans’ concerns, that was a 7% decline. Surfacing increased only four issue publics. “Immigrants and aliens” now worry 10% (up from 6%) and “national security” worries 7% (up from 4%), yet both remain small clusters. The economy in general and unemployment/jobs still worry the most people (17% and 10%, respectively), but each increased an insignificant 1%. Moreover, Surfacing rendered the other six issues less worrisome.  “Dissatisfaction with Government” (13%), health care (6%), and ethical, moral, and family decline (2%) each declined 4%; terrorism (7%), education (5%), and poverty (3%) languish in single digits. In short, Surfacing barely affected the American issue landscape.

Media Surfacing

During Surfacing Citizens decide where to find the campaign information they want.  The Pew Research Center (Gottfried et al., 2016) reported 91% of respondents learning about the campaign in the week studied; half from five or more sources. Cable news networks were most prominent (24%) and considered the most helpful (41%), especially for people over age 30.  Social media ranked ranked first among those under-30 (35%), second overall (14%), but rapidly disappear as respondents’ age.  Some 13% learned from news websites or apps while still fewer learned from radio (11%) or traditional television networks (10%). Only 5% learned from print newspapers and just 3% used websites, apps, or emails from candidates, campaigns, or issue-based groups. The late-night comedy shows so prominent in 2012 informed only 3%. Sources requiring  information seeking — candidate and interest group sites, print media, and even books — were used by just 8% of respondents.

Candidate Surfacing: The Five Indices

Candidates’ Surfacing can be measured with five indices: fundraising, endorsements, media coverage, national polls, and success in Iowa’s caucuses (Smith, 2015).

Fundraising

Campaigners trade words for dollars to finance their campaigns. Some pursue wealthy donors while a few court small donations, and their audience choices constrain their potential messages. According to the Federal Election Commission (2016) the most effective fundraisers were Democrats Hillary Clinton (76 million US$) and Bernie Sanders (41), and Republicans Ben Carson (31), Ted Cruz (26), and Jeb Bush (24). Importantly, several mega-donors (including the Koch brothers) have withheld their hundreds of millions until the Republican nominee is decided.

Endorsements

Because the parties nominate, many elected officials endorse presidential candidates. Following Cohen, Karol, Noell & Zaller (2008), Bycoffe (2016) developed an “Endorsement Primary” by awarding one point for each congressional endorsement, five points for senatorial endorsements, and ten points for each state governor’s endorsement.  Hillary Clinton finished the Surfacing period with 463 endorsement points; Jeb Bush led Republicans with 51 and Marco Rubio had 43. Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz were essentially shut out. Clearly, Republican endorsements were being held in abeyance.

Media Coverage

Candidates need media coverage to reach Citizens, and television remains the leading source of information (Gottfried, Barthel, Shearer, & Mitchell, 2016). Google’s Gdelt (2016) searchable 2016 Television News Tracker database shows that Donald Trump led all candidates with 213,000 mentions (43% of Republican coverage). Clinton’s 143,000 mentions provided 74% of Democrats’ coverage. Jeb Bush ranked third (80,000) and Sanders fourth (42,000). Trump attracted a great deal of coverage by saying outlandish, provocative things, and much of Clinton’s coverage was unfavorable or investigative. Nonetheless, media coverage of them left the other candidates struggling to reach Citizens.

National Polls

National opinion polls are a familiar index of name recognition and general popularity but their utility is limited because the US holds neither a national primary election nor a popular vote for president. With so many crude estimates, the three-poll rolling average developed by Real Clear Politics (2016) is helpful. At Surfacing’s end Clinton polled 52% to 37% for Sanders among likely Democratic voters. Among likely Republican voters Trump polled 35%, Cruz 20%, and Rubio 20%. Because Americans are 29% Democrats, 26% Republicans, and thus 45% unaffiliated; and because 30% of Americans do not vote even in presidential elections, the poll data tempt us to candidate  support.

Iowa Precinct Caucuses

Surfacing culminated in the February 1 Iowa precinct caucuses.  Nomination depends on party convention delegates of which Iowa provides but 1% (and awards them in state conventions after all primaries have been held). But success in Iowa reflects each campaign’s ability to strategically mobilize resources. It is mainly symbolic, but symbolic events shape news narratives.

The Des Moines Register (2016) reported that Iowa Republicans who attended their local caucuses voted 27.6% for Cruz, 24.3% for Trump, and 23.1% for Rubio. Democrats who caucus for candidate preference groups and elect delegates to their county conventions; Clinton won 667 to 663 for Sanders.

The Candidate Surfacing Sweepstakes

For Campaigners, Surfacing is a scramble toward the top. We can best assess it by aggregating their rankings on the five indices (Smith, 2015).

Table 1 shows that Clinton ran the Surfacing table, trailed by Sanders. The Surfacing contest that had already discourage Jim Webb and Lincoln Chaffee claimed O’Malley on caucus night, leaving Clinton and Sanders to advance to the Nominating Stage.

Fundraising

FEC

Endorsements

538.com

TV coverage

GDELT

National polls

RCP

Iowa

precincts

Total Ranks
Clinton 1 1 1 1 1 5
Sanders 2 2 2 2 2 10
O’Malley 3 3 3 3 3 3

Table 1: Democrats’ Surfacing

Republican Surfacing was more complicated, as shown in Table 2. Surfacing difficulties ended the campaigns of George Pataki, Bobby Jindal, Lindsay Graham, and Scott Walker before Iowa; they were quickly joined by Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina. Marco Rubio ranked well on all five measures; Cruz received modest endorsements and coverage and Bush performed well except, problematically, for national polls and Iowa voters.  Trump led in coverage, national polls, and Iowans but received no endorsements and few dollars from others, whereas Ben Carson surfaced well except for endorsements. John Kasich finished only eighth in Surfacing but chose to persist nonetheless.

Fundraising

FEC

Endorsements

538.com

TV coverage

Gelt

National polls

RCP

Iowa

precincts

Total Ranks
Cruz 2 6 5 2 1 16
Rubio 4 2 4 3 3 16
Bush 3 1 2 5 6 17
Trump 7 11 1 1 2 22
Carson 1 10 3 4 4 22
Paul 5 7 7 7.5 5 31.5
Christie 9 3.5 6 6 9.5 34
Kasich 8 5 9 7.5 7.5 37
Fiorina 6 8 8 10 7.5 39.5
Huckabee 10 3.5 10 9 9.5 42
Santorum 11 9 11 11 11 53

Table 2: Republicans’ Surfacing

Conclusions

The Surfacing stage of the 2016 American presidential campaign brought mixed results. Inevitably, the challenges of Surfacing eliminated many candidates and winnowed the field of competitors for the prima elections of the Nominating stage.  Atypically, endorsements by Republican officials proved toxic and fundraising paled in comparison to the generation of free coverage in news and social media.

Moreover, the campaign trialogue crystallized neither the issue agenda nor Citizens’ information habits. Citizens appeared to get most of their information from casual exposure to niche news and social media, investing little effort in the pursuit of print news, campaign or interest-based web sites. Possibly for that reason their perceptions of the most important issues at stake changed very little. The paucity of widely shared information about shared concerns underscored the fragmentation of the citizenry and encouraged relative success by candidates who sang the songs popular with a variety of small clusters of citizens.   In these ways the Surfacing stage rhetorically constituted the environment in which the nominations would be contested.

Reference List

Bycoffe, A. (2016, February 1). The endorsement primary. fivethirtyeight.com. Retrieved from http://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/2016-endorsement-primary.

Cohen, M, Karol, D, Noel, H, & Zaller, J. (2008). The party decides: Presidential nominations before and after reform. Chicago: University of Chicago.

Des Moines Register. (2016, February 2). Take a deeper look at Iowa caucus results. Retrieved from http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/elections/presidential/caucus/2016/02/05/take-deeper-look-iowa-caucus-results/79839784.

Federal Election Commission. (2016). 2016 Presidential campaign finance. (Graphic display of candidate finance reports). Retrieved from http://www.fec.gov/disclosurep/pnational.do.

Gallup. (2016). Most important problem. gallup.com Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/1675/most-important-problem.aspx

GDELT. (2016, February 1). Presidential campaign 2016: Candidate television tracker. Retrieved from http://television.gdeltproject.org/cgi-bin/iatv_campaign2016/iatv_campaign2016.

Gottfried, J., Barthel, M., Shearer, E., & Mitchell, A. (2016, February 4). The 2016 presidential campaign – A news event that’s hard to miss. Pew Research Center: Journalism & Media. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.org/2016/02/04/the-2016-presidential-campaign-a-news-event-thats-hard-to-miss.

Keller, J. & Yourish, K. (2016, March 10). Which issues each party debates, or ignores. nytimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/03/11/us/elections/what-parties-debate-or-ignore.html?_r=0

Mosendz, P. (2016. January 14). Chart: How Republican presidential debate topics compare with the Democratic debate. newsweek.com. Retrieved  from http://www.newsweek.com/chart-republican-debate-gop-democrate-debate-compare-416025.

Real Clear Politics. (2016, February 1). Polls.  Retrieved from http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/2016_republican_presidential_nomination-3823.html.

Smith, C. A. (2015). Presidential campaign communication (2nd ed.) Cambridge: Polity.

South Korea – Election outcomes 2016 and Presidential runs 2017

The outcome of the general elections – opposition Minjoo Party with the plurality of 123 seats, Saenuri Party with 122 seats, People’s Party with 38 seats, Justice Party with 6, and 11 independents – makes clear that public tolerance for party politics and fissures has peaked. The dissent over candidate nominations, party platforms, and open conflicts between party leaders  on full public display just months before the election – the dissolution of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, the splintering of the ruling Saenuri Party, and the establishment of the new People’s Party – led to an increasing rather than declining number of “undecided” swing voters as election day neared. It was clear to candidates, party-leaders, and prospective presidential candidates, that the outcomes were far from settled. The results – with Saenuri party losing a majority and falling behind the opposition Minjoo Party as largest legislative party – has significant bearing on the presidential race in 2017. In particular, the outcomes for the legislative parties promise to translate into political leverage to set the platform, viability, and credibility of candidates for the presidential elections in 2017.

The stakes going into the general elections were high. For instance, former opposition Minjoo party leader, Moon Jae-in, announced that he would quit politics – and his possible presidential run – based on election outcomes in the opposition party’s strongholds. The Minjoo Party did not do well in its traditional strongholds: it lost all eight districts in Gwangju to the opposition People’s Party, and only won three of the 20 seats in the North and South Jeolla provinces. The party did much better in the Saenuri strongholds of Busan, Daegu and North and South Gyeongsang provinces, where the Saenuri Party lost a total of 17 seats.

The remarkable performance of Representative Ahn Cheol-soo’s co-founded People’s Party – 38 seats, beating some of the most optimistic predictions – certainly bodes well for his consideration of a presidential run. The People’s Party was formally launched on February 2, 2016, co-founded with representative Chun Jung-bae who also left the opposition NPAD and successfully contested the Gwangju seat as an independent in the April 2015 by-elections. The People’s Party was not without problems: not long following the official launch, senior party members fought openly over the possibility of merging with the opposition Minjoo Party. Still, the Party managed to smooth over the tensions, and the achievement of a legislative negotiation bloc, plus the possible role of pivotal party in the legislature, will keep the hopes of a promising presidential run very much alive.

Meanwhile, outcomes for the Saenuri party will affect President Park’s influence on the party’s choice of presidential candidate for 2017. With at least two parties battling over liberal voters, the conservative ruling Saenuri party looked set to coast to a majority. Indeed, at the beginning of the 2016, political pundits and analysts did not rule out a 180-seat majority win for the party that would allow the party to pursue its legislative agenda without the need to compromise. That possibility eroded when party discord between the pro-Park and the non-Park factions led to candidate-nomination fights and party departures of senior Saenuri party members to run as independents in the elections. Polls showed the Saenuri party losing support in its traditional strongholds, and party strategists turned to ensuring that it did not lose its legislative majority. The party’s focus on national security issues, in the face of North Korea’s bellicosity, seemed like a safe-bet. Still, the dimmed economic outlook for the country, and the progressive encroachment on civil rights and liberties in the country, underlined that the safe-bet was not enough to galvanize public support. With this loss in the parliamentary majority, the “queen of elections” may no longer be able stave off the possibility of a “lame duck” presidency for the remainder of President Park’s time in office.[1]

[1] O. Fiona Yap. 2016. “South Korea in 2015: Battling to Set the Stage for Elections” Asian Survey vol 56 no1: 78-86 http://as.ucpress.edu/content/56/1/78

Chris O’Connell – In Peru A Dramatic Election Ends With A Predictable Result

The first round of voting in Peru’s presidential election ended in the result that many commentators had long predicted: a run-off vote between two familiar faces in Peruvian politics: Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. While the final result may have been foreseeable, the events leading up to it – which included the questionable exclusion of two candidates, the (possible) return of the left, a transnational protest movement, and a significant intervention from a prison cell – were a constant source of surprise.

The result itself saw the established front-runner, Keiko Fujimori, garner 40 per cent of the vote, insufficient to avoid a run-off contest. Keiko is of course the daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, for whom she acted as First Lady in the 1990s. Keiko ran for the presidency herself in 2011, losing out to incumbent Ollanta Humala in a run-off. The runner-up with 21 per cent was former World Bank economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, another who also ran in 2011. Kuczynski, or ‘PPK’ as he is known, served as both prime minister and Minister of Economy and Finance in the government of President Alejandro Toledo.

The result, however, is only one part of the story of this election. David Doyle has written previously in this blog about the controversy over alleged plagiarism involving a leading candidate in the election, Cesar Acuña. In the end, Peru’s national elections committee did disqualify Acuña, but on the basis of breaching a law that outlaws the making of payments in return for votes, a charge the Alliance for Progress candidate denies. A similar allegation against Keiko Fujimori for handing out prizes at a dance competition was not upheld, however.

Even more controversial was the subsequent removal of another candidate, Julio Guzman, this time due to technical irregularities in the registration of his candidacy. The dubious exclusion of Guzman – a former Inter-American Development Bank economist who had risen to second in the polls – attracted widespread international condemnation. Nevertheless, appeals by both Acuña and Guzman proved fruitless, leading The Economist to describe the electoral process as a “dangerous farce”.

The logical beneficiary of the exclusion of Guzman, was his fellow economist Kuczynski. Indeed polling in the immediate aftermath of the decision indicated that PPK had increased his vote share by over ten per cent, pushing him into second place. Rather than build on this stroke of luck, Kuczynski’s numbers stalled, then declined. While this may be explained to some degree by what is viewed as a lacklustre campaign, it also highlights a recurring trend in Peruvian politics: the desire for change.

An opinion poll carried out by the Catholic University’s Institute of Public Opinion (IOP) on the eve of the election demonstrates that the clamour for alternatives not only remained strong but even grew since 2011. According to the survey, 76 per cent of the electorate favour a change to the prevailing neoliberal economic model. Of those, 40 per cent desire “radical changes”, up from 33 per cent in 2011. Furthermore, the same poll indicates that 52 per cent of Peruvians favour increased state intervention, a ten per cent increase from five years earlier.

This data must be considered in the wider regional context. Scholars of Latin American populism have identified certain permissive conditions for its emergence, among them a weak, inchoate political party system, and an absence of faith in political institutions. A further contributory factor, according to Barr, is the location of a candidate with regard to the political establishment.[i] These candidates are typically referred to as ‘outsiders’, but may also be described as ‘populist’ or ‘anti-establishment’.

Peruvian politics appears to meet the criteria for the emergence of outsider candidates. While there is widespread distrust in politicians and political parties across Latin America[ii], Peru routinely achieves among the lowest rankings in the region. Furthermore, as scholars such as John Crabtree, Steven Levitsky and Maxwell Cameron have written, Peru’s party system is particularly weak and fragmented[iii].

In other words, political space exists for a candidate from outside the establishment to tap into the strong public desire for change. Both Acuña and Guzman succeeded in capturing this support, albeit briefly, before their respective exclusions. Their absence opened up the field for other candidates in the same mould. In the case of this election, that meant Alfredo Barnechea and, in particular, Veronika Mendoza.

Elected to Congress in 2011 for Humala’s ‘Peru Wins’ party, Mendoza broke away in 2012 due to opposition to the government’s stance on mining. Peru’s economy depends disproportionately on its mineral wealth, and the mining lobby exerts significant political influence. Mendoza helped form a leftist party, the Broad Front, which campaigned on a platform of social reform, and increased State control over natural resources. Analysts, however, gave Mendoza little chance of success, with polls conducted a month before the election giving her little over seven per cent support.

The situation changed dramatically in the weeks before the election. While Mendoza undoubtedly benefited from the exclusion of Acuña and Guzman, her rise arguably owed more to the effectiveness of her campaign, which contrasted with that of Kuczynski. Taking a leaf from the populist playbook, Mendoza criss-crossed the country holding rallies and personally connecting with voters. Mendoza’s discourse, however, was far from populist, as she maintained a coherent left-wing message. This was allied to a moderate public persona, even in the face of media attacks[iv].

Despite having all of the momentum in the last weeks of the campaign, Mendoza ultimately fell short, receiving 19 per cent of the vote. This can be explained by a number of factors, all of which are recurring themes in Peruvian politics. The first concerns the role of the media, which many on the left in particular consider guilty of right-wing bias. While the control of over 80 per cent of all media by the ‘El Comercio’ group of companies is startling, in the particular context of this election it appears that other factors were more significant.

One such factor is the long-standing issue of divisions within the Peruvian left.[v] The presence on the ballot of the imprisoned candidate of the Direct Democracy party, Gregorio Santos, was especially important. Santos, the former Regional President of the Cajamarca region and anti-mining activist held under preventative detention relating to corruption charges, made a dramatic contribution to the presidential debate from his prison cell. The four percentage points garnered by Santos – had they gone instead to Mendoza – would have been sufficient to edge out Kuczynski.

The remaining factor that militated against Mendoza was the strong strain in Peruvian politics of ‘anti-fujimorismo’ (opposition to Fujimori). The legacy of Fujimori Senior continues to divide Peruvian society, in spite of his ongoing incarceration for a combination of human rights violations and embezzlement.

The run-up to this election saw a series of protests, culminating on the 5th of April with tens of thousands proclaiming ‘Keiko no va!’ (Keiko no way!) in rallies across Peru, as well as in Paris, New York, Rio and Buenos Aires. Kuczynski, aided by polls that named him as the candidate most likely to defeat Keiko in a run-off, appears to have benefited from tactical anti-Fujimori voting, gaining around eight percentage points in the last days of the campaign.

What does all of this mean for the run-off vote, scheduled to take place on the 5th of June? Much will depend on which candidate will be able to attract the mix of left-wing and anti-establishment votes that went to Mendoza, Barnechea and Santos. This will not be easy for either candidate, both of whom are closely associated with not only with neoliberal economic policies, but also the political establishment.

Fujimori is the obvious favourite, having received almost twice as many votes as Kuczynski. Furthermore, Keiko appears to have learned lessons from her failed campaign in 2011. Beginning with a speech at Harvard University in October 2015, Keiko has distanced herself from the “errors” of her father’s regime, and vowed to respect democracy. She has dispensed with several members of her party with close associations to that time, such as Martha Chavez, and pledged not to pardon Fujimori Senior if elected president. We can expect more in way of such moderation in the coming months. Whether it will be enough to convince a further ten per cent of the electorate remains to be seen.

The challenge for Kuczynski is significantly greater, and not only mathematically. Like Keiko, PPK has also been attempting to right the wrongs of his last campaign, appearing in the media to talk up his ‘socialist’ credentials. Kuczynski’s status as the clear preference of powerful business interests, however, will not help him to convince voters that he will bring about fundamental changes.

Instead Kuczynski’s best bet would appear to be to present himself as the ‘non-Fujimori’ candidate. This may well be sufficient to swing the election his way, provided he can avoid glaring gaffes. It would be a considerable boon to Kuczynski if he could bring on board at least some elements of the left. The candidate himself appears to recognize this, as within days of the first round vote Kuczynski had announced plans to meet with Santos.

Nevertheless, Kuczynski faces an uphill battle. A national survey carried out by the IOP in March indicates that crime is overwhelmingly the most pressing issue for citizens across the social spectrum.  While the name ‘Alberto Fujimori’ may hold a variety of mainly negative connotations for social scientists, for many ordinary Peruvians it is synonymous with law and order, a factor which may well give his daughter the edge in June.

Notes

[i] See Barr, 2009. “Populists, outsiders and anti-establishment politics.” Party Politics Vol. 15.1.

[ii] See Latinobarómetro Report, 2015.

[iii] See Crabtree, 2010. “Democracy without parties? Some lessons from Peru.” Journal of Latin American Studies Vol. 42.2; Levitsky & Cameron, 2003. “Democracy without parties? Political parties and regime change in Fujimori’s Peru.” Latin American Politics and Society Vol. 45.3.

[iv] Mendoza’s dignified but ruthless decimation of television pundit Aldo Mariátegui particularly stands out.

[v] See Tanaka, 2008. “The Left in Peru: Plenty of Wagons and No Locomotion”, in Jorge G. Castañeda and Marco A. Morales, eds. Leftovers: Tales of the two Latin American lefts.

Chris O’Connell is a PhD candidate in politics at Dublin City University, where he has lectured on Latin American politics. He holds a BCL from University College Cork, and an MA in Development from DCU. Currently he is writing his doctoral thesis on the influence of civil society on populist presidents in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. His research interests centre on the politics of development in Latin America.