Photo from Nautidy.com
Jaime Bayly--Peruvian author, journalist and host of the satirical political talk show, El Francotirador (The Sniper)--jokingly announced last month his intentions to run for president in 2011.
No one quite knows whether to take him seriously or not, but his announcement has generated a lot of talk. As of a few weeks ago, polls showed that Jaime Bayly garners the support of 5% of voters. Compared with the frontrunner, Lima mayor Luis Castañeda, who has 20%, that's a pretty high number.
As this article from The Economist points out, Bayly's not exactly the typical straight-shooting, politically correct candidate.
Bayly is bisexual, but most of his personal life he either openly discusses on El Francotirador, or has written about in his various best-selling books--one of the most famous being No Se Lo Digas A Nadie (Don't Tell Anybody).
Bayly's political platform, extrapolated from his many years of political commentary, would not be mainstream Peru either. Bayly supports gay marriage, abortion and the legalization of drugs. He wants to see a more secular Peruvian state, or in other words, one without a special relationship with the Catholic church.
But some of his political ideas--to decrease the military budget, invest significantly more in education and the police force and reduce the quantity of representatives in Peru's unicameral Congress--are popularly supported. Bayly's reputation as a defender of social equality, which comes from his consistent insistence on the importance of education, is widely known and accepted.
Although many of his political stances are progressive, Peruvian voters so far recognize Bayly as a moderate candidate. But just this perspective worries many political analysts. They say that if Bayly truly is running for president (and he hasn't confirmed it yet), he will win just enough votes from the middle to throw the election to more extremist candidates, or in other words, Ollanta Humala.
I, for one, am entertained, if not supportive, of Bayly's game he's playing right now. He's got the politicians and journalists on their toes. And me as well.
Plus, I like his sexy hairstyle and his baby boy face (see video with subtitles).
I'll be interested to see if this is all just a trial ballon or another novelist/politician (Peru's had one before) who couldn't take the status quo anymore.
Interesting aside: Bayly also still holds a U.S. passport from his days as a CBS and Telemundo political commentator in Miami. (He went there during the 1990s, when journalists were highly censored during President Fujimori's decade-long dictatorship.) He'll have to get rid of that if he seriously runs for president.