Sunday, May 4, 2014

Perú: Center-Left Mayor of Lima Susana Villarán, 64, Expected to Face Tough Re-Election

According to The Peruvian Times, Lima’s Mayor Susana Villaran, 64, is to launch her re-election campaign on Thursday (May 1), according to the daily, Perú 21.

Villarán, a center-left politician, is the first woman to be elected mayor of Lima [2010], which is considered the second-most important elected post in the Andean country.

Villarán took office in 2011 after a surprise victory in the municipal election that saw her surge ahead of former presidential candidate Lourdes Flores, 54, in the final weeks of the campaign.

Since taking office, though, Villarán has faced sharp criticism, including supporters of her predecessor, Luís Castañeda.

Villarán had been highly critical of Castañeda’s administrations and her government had undertaken audits of municipal works in order to detect irregularities, resulting in a report that has led to several indictments of Castañeda protégés in a fraud case known locally as Comunicore.
COMMENT: Despite Villarán's confidence, her difficulties in advancing municipal works and a perception that crime and traffic in Lima has not improved as promised, led to a referendum last year to recall her from office.

Shortly after the referendum was called, opinion polls showed Villarán potentially could be ousted from office, yet a strong campaign by her supporters led to the mayor defeating the recall vote.

Despite surviving the referendum, Villarán has continued to have low public approval ratings. According to a Datum poll cited by PERU 21, only 7% of the electorate said they would vote for Villarán again for mayor of Lima.

Villarán’s Fuerza Social political party said they are confident that she would win a re-election. “We are absolutely sure that Susana Villarán has a strong possibility to win,” said Sigifredo Velasquez, president of Fuerza Social.

Fuerza Social party said they will launch Villarán’s re-election campaign in order to confront an expected bid for office again by Castañeda, who would likely be the favorite to win the municipal election.

The fact that Mayor Villarán has demonstrated overconfidence and has seen Castañeda's supporters indicted is a recipe fora tough fight.