he second round presidential run-off between Alejandro Toledo and the incumbent, Alberto Fujimori, will be held on May 28th and will be very closely fought. Political tensions are still high after allegations of electoral fraud in the first round, and the discredited Oficina Nacional de Procesos Electorales (ONPE, the government institution in charge of organising elections) will remain under pressure to organise a fair second round. However, the ruling administration has not yet shown any sign that it intends to change its campaigning or vote-counting methods, leaving open the possibility that Mr Toledo will retire from the second-round contest in protest. Whoever wins the presidency will face some problems of governability, as there will be no working majority in the new Congress.
An extraordinarily dirty campaign and a large number of irregularities at the vote-counting stage of the presidential and congressional elections of April 9th triggered the largest protests in Peru for over a decade. Large crowds of opposition supporters took to the streets alleging fraud, and international observers severely criticised the electoral process. The delays and irregularities in the vote-counting process give credence to suspicions that the authorities were considering fraudulent procedures to close the gap that separated Mr Fujimori from outright victory. The ONPE took four days to announce that a second round would be necessary, with Mr Fujimori just 14,000 votes short of the absolute majority of valid votes needed for outright victory.