Written by Contributor: Jon Stroshine
The sun came out on election day in the La Molina region of Lima, Peru, and the people did too.
Both seemed reluctant.
Early returns from the unpopular municipal election suggest the PPC (Partido Popular Cristiano) has won the right to replace city council members ousted in a March recall which Lima Mayor Susana Villaran survived, as frustrated Lima residents took to the polls Sunday.
Garcia of Lima’s Manchay district in regards to the election. “I feel like it’s something without a lot of importance, because it’s just for councilmen.”
Many who came out to vote Sunday considered the election a waste of time, as the candidates were not well-known, and the winners will be in office for only about a year and have less influence than the mayor herself.
Voting is mandatory in Peru, and not doing so in this election carried a 74-sol fine—about 26 dollars.
“Politically, we’re still very immature,” said voter Jorge Rubio, who came to Colegio Ateneo in La Molina to vote. “We keep growing economically and everything, but we don’t know how to choose authorities.”
At Colegio New Jean Piaget in the Portada del Sol region of La Molina, the day started with overcast weather and what some voters saw as poor coordination. Several Limeños, such as Tambraico Maximiliana were delayed because vote-counting volunteers did not arrive on time.
“They weren’t on time, and they changed (my location),” Maximiliana said. “Some of us have to work, but we have to wait…at work, there are fines (for being late).” A few blocks down the road at Colegio Ateneo, frustration reigned, as those who were assigned to vote at the school arrived to find their location changed. The majority of those who were supposed to vote at Ateneo were bumped to Jean Piaget or Colegio Viña Alta. Elizabeth Bravo came to Ateneo and couldn’t find her voting number listed there, meaning she had to call a friend to figure out where to go.
“They shouldn’t have had these elections, ” Bravo said. “I feel like I’ve come and wasted my time.”
Eugenia Mendizabal arrived at Universidad Nacional Agraria in the afternoon expecting to vote.
She arrived at the Raul Ferrero Avenue entrance and was told that she had to come in via the main entrance, which she said would not be easy to reach by the 4 p.m. closing of the polls.
In the Viñas section of La Molina, traffic and heat dominated the afternoon.
Cars filled the streets, honking and attempting to find parking space. As the sun came out, many grabbed frozen treats from street vendors, and the noise calmed as the polls came to a close at 4 p.m.
“(The money used for the election) should be invested in other works for the truly poor people, in works of infrastructure, water, drains, light,”” said Margaret Loay of La Molina, who voted in Viñas.
The crowds were a headache for some, but a businesses boon for others.
Wilmer Herman came all the way from Manchay to La Molina to work as a watchman for parked cars, and taxis and buses were kept busy ferrying citizens to their destinations.
Kelly Panduro took advantage of the crowds by setting up shop just outside her house, playing pop music and selling sandwiches and juice to passers-by.
About six and a half million were expected to hit the polls today, and official results will be announced Monday at 8 a.m. However, if more than two-thirds of the votes are marked “null”—not voting for anyone—Peru’s elections board could call for another election.
“We don’t know the candidates…but we have to vote because if not, there will be more elections,” said Serenazgo officer Sadan Geronimo, keeping watch outside Jean Piaget. “What we want is for there to be no more elections.”