LIMA – Peruvian presidential candidates Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski slugged it out in a debate ahead of the June 5 run-off election.
The debate centered on the administration of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, Keiko Fujimori’s father, and Kuczynski’s links to big business when he served in the Cabinet.
Sunday night’s debate was the last ahead of the vote next weekend, when Peruvians will choose a successor to President Ollanta Humala.
Kuczynski came out swinging, saying that he wanted to be a president who “defended freedom” in the face of the “lethal threat posed to democracy” by his rival.
“You haven’t changed. You’re the same person. I’m convinced that freedom is in serious danger in Peru. It’s essential to protect it,” the 77-year-old Kuczynski said, reminding voters that Keiko was first lady in the 1990-2000 administration of her father, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights violations and corruption.
Fujimori, for her part, said that “there is only one campaign from love to hate,” adding that Kuczynski had no problem with supporting her in the 2011 run-off election, which was won by Humala.
She denied that her party had links to drug traffickers and rejected Kuczynski’s warnings that Peru was in danger of becoming a “narcostate” if she was elected.
The 41-year-old Fujimori is the frontrunner heading into the run-off election, with a new Ipsos poll giving her 53.1 percent support to 46.9 percent for Kuczynski.
Fujimori got 39.85 percent of the vote in the April 10 first-round election, while Kuczynski garnered 21.01 percent of the vote.