By the Blouin News Politics staff

Next president of Peru will face same mining dilemma

by in Americas.

Keiko Fujimori. (Source: Congreso de la República del Perú [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Keiko Fujimori. (Source: Congreso de la República del Perú/Wikimedia Commons)

Peru’s finance minister Alonso Segura said on Tuesday that the country’s economy likely grew by more than 5% in February compared to the same period a year ago. Much credit goes to mining, which is at the core of the ongoing Peruvian election. Since the first round of voting on Sunday did not yield any outright majority winner, the top two candidates are now scheduled for a runoff on June 5.

Both of the candidates espouse free-market policies, and Peru’s markets rose upon hearing the initial election results. Keiko Fujimori is the conservative daughter of former authoritarian president Alberto Fujimori (who ruled from 1990-2000 and is now in jail over corruption and human rights abuses). The other contender is Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a centrist former World Bank economist. The third place candidate, leftist Veronika Mendoza, opposed foreign mining activities and advocated an economic overhaul, including diverting natural gas exports to the domestic market. But with her out of the picture, chances are whoever wins will largely continue the current course, which has propelled the economy along at enviable growth rates.

Major tensions will continue between foreign mining firms and local residents who oppose their activities, labor practices, and environmental impacts.

According to the Washington Post, Keiko Fujimori recently promised to implement progressive policies to boost social spending and expand the reach of social programs to those in need. She also criticized outgoing president Ollanta Humala for putting business interests before the needs of people in rural sectors at a high-profile mining and investment summit in Lima several months ago. But leaders flip on issues quite frequently in Peru, so these might be empty words.

Regardless of whoever prevails in June, expect more protests and strikes in Peru’s mining sector.