© Reuters. Supporters of Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo follow a newsletter on the first results of the second round of elections between Castillo and Keiko Fujimori, in Tacabamba, Peru, on June 6, 2021. REUTERS / Alessandro Cinque
By Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun
LIMA, Peru (Reuters) – Peruvian socialist Pedro Castillo widened his lead over right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori in the country’s presidential vote on Monday, but said she would not give in yet and alleged “irregularities”, although without showing much evidence.
The official tally https://www.resultadossep.eleccionesgenerales2021.pe/SEP2021/ResumenGeneral/10/T of Sunday’s elections showed the foreign candidate Castillo with 50.3% and Fujimori with 49.7%, with around 95% of the voices counted. The leftist candidate had dragged on overnight, but began to carve out the lion’s share of the ballots as the count progressed, following a late wave of rural votes.
“There is a clear intention to boycott the will of the people,” Fujimori said at a press conference, in which she showed videos on social media to substantiate her claims, and accused supporters of Castillo for stealing votes. She also asked her base to make new allegations, if they exist, on social media.
Castillo’s party, Free Peru, responded on Twitter that it “rejects” the allegations.
Analysts expected that a tight result could lead to days of uncertainty, tension and perhaps some level of turmoil, but claims are now adding fuel to this scenario. Earlier Monday, Castillo’s party said it had also been the victim of attempted fraud, without giving details.
The vote highlighted a sharp divide between the capital Lima and the country’s rural hinterland, which propelled Castillo’s unexpected rise.
Castillo, the son of peasants, has pledged to shake up the constitution and mining laws of the Andean nation, scaring local producers and markets, which fell sharply on Monday as he won the race.
“All we want right now is democracy, everything to be democratic. Whoever wins, the other accepts it and doesn’t create any problems,” said Lili Rocha, a voter from Lima after clashes broke out during the night.
As the results arrived on Sunday night, Castillo, 51, rallied his supporters to “defend the vote” when an exit poll showed him behind, though he later called for calm.
Fujimori, 46, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is in prison for human rights violations and corruption, also called for “caution, calm and peace for both groups.”
Castillo’s Free Peru party said on Twitter that the candidate, who had traveled to his rural northern constituency to vote, had traveled to Lima to “protect the will of the people”, although a press conference scheduled was subsequently canceled. (Graphic: Peruvian strong vote, https://graphics.reuters.com/PERU-ELECTION/jbyprgmnbve/chart.png)
JP Morgan said in a note that it could be days before the final election result is clear and the two candidates could choose to wait until that process is complete before declaring victory or admitting. the defeat.
An unofficial swift tally by Ipsos Peru on Sunday night had given Castillo a fractional lead, after an exit poll said rival Fujimori would win, leaving the copper-rich country, investors and consumers alike. mining companies guess.
The latest data shows Castillo with 8.55 million votes against 8.46 million for Fujimori. The slower-to-count rural vote contributed to Castillo’s belated accusation, although uncounted overseas ballots may still boost Fujimori.
“Unless the scenario too close to the call described by the rapid tally turns out to be wrong, we look set for a number of days of heightened uncertainty ahead,” JP Morgan said.
Castillo’s sudden rise to power since his first-round victory in April has pissed off markets and frightened mining companies worried about plans to sharply increase taxes on mining profits and threats of nationalization.
Analysts say, however, whoever wins will have a weakened term given the marked divisions in Peru, and will face a fragmented Congress with no party holding a majority, which could block any major reform.
The two candidates have promised very different remedies for a country that had three presidents in a week last year and suffered a severe economic crisis sparked by the world’s deadliest per capita COVID-19 epidemic.
Fujimori is committed to following the free market model and maintaining economic stability in Peru, the world’s second largest producer of copper, with “a firm mother’s hand.”
Castillo, who has become a champion of the poor, has vowed to overhaul the constitution to strengthen the role of the state and extract more of the profits from mining companies.
Street vendor Natalia Flores said she did not vote for any of the candidates, but hoped whoever wins will lead the country past the recent political turmoil and the pandemic.
“Whoever comes out on top, I think he will have to do a good job because in Peru, the problem of the pandemic is terrible for us economically. The work is unstable,” she said.
“Whether it’s Mr. Castillo or Ms. Keiko (Fujimori), I hope they will do a good job over the next five years.” (Graphic: Castillo vs. Fujimori, https://graphics.reuters.com/PERU-ELECTION/yxmvjabwzpr/chart.png)