July 25, 2021

In Peru, a close duel between Castillo and Fujimori

Peruvians were expecting a close election on Sunday, June 6. However, they did not imagine that the presidential chair would be played by a few tens of thousands of votes. It is with their eyes riveted on the count of the electoral body that they have spent the last twenty-four hours. Monday night, they were preparing for another night of waiting to know the face of their next president.

Given at the head of the poll on Sunday evening, with 6 points ahead, the authoritarian and populist right-wing candidate, Keiko Fujimori, passed behind the radical left candidate, Pedro Castillo, in the middle of the day on Monday. At the end of the day, Mme Fujimori called a press conference to denounce “Systematic fraud” : “There is a clear intention to sabotage the will of the people”, she said, showing photos and videos. International observers praised the good conduct of the ballot. The Peruvian association Transparencia declared, through the voice of its president, Adriana Urrutia, that there was no ” no proof “ electoral fraud.

At 95% of the count, Pedro Castillo therefore leads with a slight lead: 50.28% against 49.71%. A gap of 98,000 votes out of the 25 million voters, which fluctuates from hour to hour. Only a third of the votes of Peruvians abroad were counted Monday evening. With almost a million voters, especially in the United States and Spain, they could tip the scales in favor of Keiko Fujimori. The rural vote, on the other hand, whose last ballots from the areas furthest from the Andes or the Amazon have not yet been counted, could on the contrary confirm Castillo’s advance.

Two candidates that everything opposes

In fact, the country finds itself immersed in uncertainty with the option of two opposing candidates. On the one hand, the teacher Pedro Castillo, almost unknown in politics a few months ago and who did not exercise any elected office. A trade unionist, he had distinguished himself as a leader during a teacher strike in 2017 before falling into relative oblivion. On election day, Sunday, it was in his stronghold, a rural area in northern Peru, in Tacabamba (Cajamarca region), that he received the first results, surrounded by his family, his wife, a teacher like him, and his parents, small farmers.

Keiko Fujimori (center), in Lima, June 7, 2021.

A family photo that contrasts with that of the Fujimori clan, a family well known in Peruvian politics and with a heavy past. Keiko Fujimori is contesting his third election. Daughter of the ex-autocrat Alberto Fujimori – president from 1990 to 2000 and who is serving a twenty-five-year prison sentence for crimes against human rights and corruption -, she is herself prosecuted for money laundering and membership. organized crime. She completed sixteen months of preventive detention, before being released on bail, in May 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She faces thirty years in prison. Faithful heir to the patriarch, she has never broken with the trademark of Fujimorism, between authoritarianism and populism. Even though she recognized “Errors”, she did not condemn her father’s crimes. She even assured during the campaign that she wanted to pardon him if she was elected.

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