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What We’re Watching: Peruvian runoff, Haitian resignation

What We’re Watching: Peruvian runoff, Haitian resignation

Peruvian flag during street protests in Lima

REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

Peruvian runoff: Perú's presidential election is going to a runoff in June between two surprise and polarizing contenders, each of whom won less than 20 percent of votes in a highly fragmented first round. Pedro Castillo, a far-left union leader and teacher who benefited from a late surge in the polls, will battle rightwing populist Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the country's imprisoned former strongman. Castillo wants to rewrite the constitution to weaken the political influence of the country's business elite and maybe to allow the state to nationalize parts of the mining sector to pay for social programs for the poor. Fujimori wants to use mining revenues to create jobs by investing in infrastructure and healthcare. The runoff will probably be a national referendum on Fujimori, a divisive figure running for the top job for the third time. No Peruvian president has ever left office without facing corruption charges, but Fujimori already faces several — and she'll avoid jail time if she wins.

Haiti PM out: Prime Minister Jouthe Joseph has stepped down in response to worsening unrest in Haiti, particularly the recent kidnapping by an armed gang of 10 people — including seven clergy members — for a $1 million ransom. Once the influential Catholic Church blamed the PM for the scandal, President Jovenel Moïse accepted Joseph's resignation and vowed to rescue the hostages. Moïse himself faces pressure from rivals and critics who say his elected term has ended. Moïse insists his terms ends next February. (The Biden administration agrees with him.) Either way, a new PM may bring temporary calm, but poverty and crime, the true sources of the unrest, will remain. And Haiti's political crisis will probably continue for as long as Moïse remains in power.


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