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Wednesday, October 9

Direct from Jorge Chavez International Airport

A few quick words from an Internet booth at Lima's airport, on my way back to Washington. I have two hours for my flight and want to take a fling at this type of remote filing.

One political trend struck me while I was here. The municipal and regional (really departmental) elections are two months away, but the campaign is in full swing with voter survey appearing every few days and the streets full of banners, posters, "pintas" and billboards shouting the virtues of the mayoral candidates. Over the weekend, I saw street marches of candidates trying to drum up support -- with eight weeks yet to go! There's even TV ads. From my early experience with municipal elections, this seems highly unusual this early in the campaign, especially given the sad plight of political parties in Peru.

It looks as if Toledo is not going to get the first year bounce that allowed the ruling party to win a lot of races in the first municipal elections of the term. This was the case of Fernando Belaunde and Accion Popular, Alan Garcia and APRA and Fujimori and his shifting alliances. The one exception might have been Fujimori's first term because he slammed the citizenry with price increases when he came in and was cornered by the traditional poltical parties. Most candidates from Peru Posible will have to run on their own merits.

Enough for the time being. I need to head for my gate. More news coming in the next couple of days.

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