Peruvian socialists applaud electoral victory as conservatives pledge to fight
Peruvian Socialist Party and presidential candidate Pedro Castillo applauded their likely victory in the Andean country’s hotly contested election, despite right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori’s pledge to fight until the last vote.
The polarized contest, a crossroads moment for the mineral-rich nation, looks set to tip Peru sharply to the left, which rocked the political establishment, markets and miners in the world’s number one. 2 producer of red metallic copper.
Castillo, a former teacher, leads with 50.14% of the vote with 99.935% of the ballots counted, with the return of Fujimori, who has made unfounded fraud allegations appearing increasingly unlikely – unless ‘an unexpected late turn.
“The people have already chosen their path,” Castillo told hundreds of his supporters Saturday night in Lima and called on the authorities to close the count as quickly as possible.
“No more polarization in the country. Let the authorities take care that once and for all these things do not continue and that the popular will is respected.”
Thousands of Peruvian supporters of Castillo and Fujimori marched in Lima on Saturday as anxiety over the meticulous vote count continued to grow.
The difference between the two candidates is less than 0.3 percentage point, or some 49,420 votes. Fujimori, heir to a powerful political family and daughter of ex-President Alberto Fujimori who is in prison for human rights abuses and corruption, insisted on fraud allegations and unsuccessfully tried to overturn up to 200 000 votes.
“I’m a person who never gives up,” Fujimori, 46, told hundreds of supporters as she led a protest in downtown Lima on Saturday, with many supporters holding the red Peruvian flag and White.
Castillo’s party rejected accusations of fraud and international observers of the process in Lima said the elections were transparent.
Castillo, 51, has already received congratulations from some left-wing Latin American leaders, prompting official protests from Peru’s current interim government which has asked everyone to wait for the electorate to officially announce the result.
Peru’s new president is expected to take office on July 28, facing the challenge of leading the country beyond the world’s deadliest COVID-19 epidemic per capita, to heal a divided nation and to revive an economy in a context of growing poverty.
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