Populism is a reflection of, among other things, dissatisfaction with the status quo and established political parties. In that context, media portrayals of the Peruvian election show a consistent contradiction.
As it currently stands, Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori would go to a second round. That could change as more votes come in, but the basic idea is the same. Peruvians are not happy with the status quo and are open to potentially very radical change based more on individuals than on parties.
So CNN International's rhetorical question "Who will make the most of the recent combination of good macroeconomic management and high commodity prices?" is misplaced. A more accurate question is why so many Peruvians don't believe "macroeconomic management" had any impact on them at all. Or we have the Wall Street Journal: "financial markets fret that Mr. Humala might reverse the market-oriented policies that have helped turn Peru into one of the world's fastest growing economies." Bloomberg gets more to the point, though far down in the article:
Under Garcia, Peru created 2.5 million jobs and had its first-ever investment-grade ratings from Moody’s Investors Service, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. A third of Peruvians still live in poverty, most of them in the Andean highlands where support for Humala is strongest.
This is an old, old story. Marcoeconomic indicators look great, so the country must be doing all the right things and is held up as a model for others to follow. So we are perplexed when a majority of people seem so dissatisfied. The result is that we get the essential causal question backwards. Instead of asking what effect populism will have on the economy, we need to ask how economic policy helped generate populism.