On Sunday, June 5th Peruvians went to the polls to cast their second round vote to elect the next Peruvian president. Voters waited anxiously for nearly a week as the votes were counted. On Friday, June 10th the final count revealed that Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (commonly known by his initials, PPK) had beaten Keiko Fujimori by just 0.248% of the vote (equating to a difference of only 42,597 votes). While the campaign focused on a host of issues, especially rising criminality in Lima and revitalizing the Peruvian economy after years of sluggish economic growth, Peru’s continued counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts in the Valley of the Rivers Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro (VRAEM) received scant attention. Given that the Shining Path insurgency once seriously threatened to topple the Peruvian state and more recently, on the day before the first round vote perpetrated an attack that killed 10 (including eight soldiers and two civilians), it is important to understand what the next Peruvian government’s approach to confronting the remaining insurgents in the VRAEM will be prior to PPK’s inauguration on July 28th. On the one hand, he has demonstrated a nuanced understanding of this complex problem. The type of understanding necessary to finally eliminate an insurgency that has festered for 36 years. On the other hand, other domestic priorities are competing for the president-elect’s attention and given PPK’s limited electoral mandate and an opposition controlled congress, he will have to pick his battles careful. While the domestic political reality may limit the new administration’s focus on the VRAEM, pressures from the U.S. government to pursue orthodox counter-narcotics policies, which are at odds with PPK’s preferred approach to COIN, may result in the adoption of a less than optimal strategy.
Koven, Barnett S. 2016. "Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the Future of Peruvian Security." E-International Relations (June). http://www.e-ir.info/2016/06/15/president-elect-pedro-pablo-kuczynski-and-the-future-of-peruvian-security/