Total Recall – Perhaps
This Sunday, March 17 (which is St. Patrick’s Day, but this seventeenth day of the third month is also the feast days for St. Jan Sarkander, St. Ambrose of Alexandria, and St. Gertrude of Nivelles…just thought you might be interested), the citizens of Lima will go to the polls to decide whether to recall the current mayor, Susan Villaran, and thirty-nine of the city’s regidores (which I think is something akin to members of a City Council).
The ballot that voters will be presented with looks like this…
In case you can’t quite see everything on the ballot, there are forty rows with the name of the mayor (in the #1 spot) and the thirty-nine regidores. Each row has two boxes marked “SI” and “NO”. If a person wants the person recalled (i.e., booted from office), they mark “SI”. If the voter wants the person to stay in office, they mark “NO”. The instructions for the ballot are quite specific. Only an “X” or an “+” mark in the box will be considered a valid selection. No checkmarks, please.
Also of note on the instructions is the warning that there is a S/. 74 fine for those eligible voters who do not vote. At the current exchange rate, that comes out to be about $29. I wonder how a system like that would fly in the United States.
Here’s another fun fact about the election. If the mayor is indeed recalled, there will be an election to choose the next leader of the city. However, in the interim, who will be the head honcho? The answer is the highest regidore who is not recalled. So if the mayor and the top three regidores are all kicked out, then regidore #4 becomes the interim mayor until the next election.
Not quite sure what happens if all forty folk are recalled.
As with any election, there have been some moments of forehead-slapping eye-blinking surrealism.
To start, the spokesperson for the “SI” coalition, Marco Tulio Gutierrez said this last week about the voting populace that was of the female persuasion…
Las damas siempre dicen que no y terminan diciendo que sí, ese es el encanto de las damas.
Roughly translated, his words come out to…
The ladies always say no and end up saying yes, that’s the charm of ladies.
Needless to say, this tone-deaf appeal to women did not go over well. In addition to criticism from women’s groups in Peru, a local cartoonist lampooned Tulio’s comment by drawing him in front of a prison saying his words. In the background, were convicted rapists saying “Without a doubt!”, “That’s right!”, and “It’s so!”
Yesterday (March 10), a televised debate was held between the “SI” and the “NO” groups. Well, actually, only the “NO” people showed up. For some reason, two of the three “SI” folk failed to appear and the only one who did left after giving her opening statement. You can read an article about it here.
Too bad Clint Eastwood wasn’t around. Then he really could have had a honest debate with an empty chair.
With a week to go, I can only imagine it will become stranger.