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Cablegate: Peru Regional/Municipal Elections: All Politics Is

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #4271/01 3072218
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 032218Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2889
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4051
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7044
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 9856
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ NOV QUITO 0775
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 0925
RUMIAAA/CDR USCINCSO MIAMI FL

UNCLAS LIMA 004271

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PHUM PE
SUBJECT: PERU REGIONAL/MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS: ALL POLITICS IS
(AGAIN) LOCAL

REF: A. LIMA 3693
B. LIMA 2222

Sensitive but Unclassified. Please handle accordingly.

--------
Summary:
--------

1. (SBU) Peru holds regional, provincial and district
elections on November 19. Former presidential candidate
Ollanta Humala's Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP) has
floundered and local interests have reasserted themselves.
Voters appear apathetic and weary from the electoral season.
President Alan Garcia has announced his eagerness to work
with whomever wins, confident that the GOP's control over
funds will keep Regional Presidents in line. Lima Mayor Luis
Castaneda should cruise to a landslide re-election. End
Summary.

2. (U) On November 19, approximately 14,000 candidates will
compete for 25 regional presidencies and for mayorships in
194 provinces and more than 1,800 districts. There are no
expectations of significant problems or serious fraud. Voter
interest in the elections is low, the result of too many
candidates and an exhausting pair of elections in April and
June.

-----------------
Humala Flames Out
-----------------

3. (U) In the wake of radical, pro-Chavez presidential
candidate Ollanta Humala's impressive showing in June (Ref
B), many observers had feared that Humala's followers might
sweep regional and municipal elections, particularly in his
base area in the south. Such worries have proven unfounded
as Humala's movement has floundered and local forces have
reasserted themselves. Peru's combination of weak political
parties and strong local and regional movements led by local
caudillos presages continued political fragmentation at the
local and regional level. Most regional presidents and
provincial and district mayors will win elections with far
less than 50 percent of the vote.

--------------------------------------
APRA Losing Ground: Garcia Unconcerned
--------------------------------------

4. (U) APRA is not expected to win as many regional
presidencies as they did in the last elections. (In 2002,
APRA won 12 of 25 regional presidencies.) Some polls show
APRA likely to win only two regional presidencies and not
doing particularly well in provincial and municipal races.
President Garcia is reportedly unconcerned. He has made no
effort to help APRA candidates, despite his high approval
ratings. Some observers say Garcia would prefer to work with
independent candidates -- particularly Regional Presidents
who will depend on the central government for financing --
rather than suffer the fallout from underperforming APRA
leaders.

5. (U) Cocaleros are fielding mayoral candidates for eight
districts in Apurimac, the provinces of Huanta and La Mar,
the Regional Presidency of Ayacucho and for several
mayorships in the Apurimac and Ene River Valley (VRAE). The
cocaleros are divided between those led by Nelson Palomino
(VRAE), Iburcio Morales (Monzon), and by other provincial
leaders. These divisions should diminish their potential
impact. The fight between Palomino and Morales has also
eclipsed any influence that Ollanta Humala had in this sector.

---------------------------
Comment: Winners and Losers
---------------------------

6. (SBU) Despite general political apathy, Peru's
regional/municipal elections will produce winners and losers.


--Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda should cruise to a landslide
re-election. His closest competitor, evangelical pastor and
National Restoration Party leader Humberto Lay, scores
between 10-15 percent in most polls. All other candidates,

including those from APRA and Humala's PNP, maintain minimal
support. Castaneda has solidified his base for a possible
run at the Presidency in 2011. Lay is holding on to support
that he carved out in the April first-round presidential
elections.

--APRA has lost some ground in regional and municipal races.
We think that President Garcia is putting the best face on
this by professing unconcern. In the end, Garcia knows that
he can keep Regional Presidents in check because the central
government provides most of their budgets under
decentralization.

--Ollanta Humala is the biggest loser in the entire process.
His PNP has split from its former coalition partner, the
Union por el Peru (UPP) Party, and has had problems fielding
candidates in many areas. Compounding his difficulties, two
weeks ago, Humala announced that he was forming a new
political movement, GANA Peru (Win Peru), further confusing
both his followers and observers.
STRUBLE

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