Peru started this Monday another week of uncertainty and pressure on the National Elections Jury (JNE), which must resolve the vote challenges and proclaim the winner of the June 6 ballot between the right-wing Keiko Fujimori and the left-wing Pedro Castillo.
Eight days after the elections, the JNE is under criticism from the Fujimori side, while its president, Jorge Luis Salas, warns that resolving the challenges of hundreds of polling stations takes “some minimal time”, without giving a date to release the verdict.
Fujimori, who should go to trial for alleged money laundering if he does not win the presidency, he asked the JNE to annul the votes of hundreds of polling stations and denounced “fraud”, although for OAS observers the vote was clean and “without serious irregularities.” Castillo, meanwhile, asks his supporters for “serenity”, feeling himself the winner.
The last count of the electoral body (ONPE) gives the leftist candidate an advantage of 49,000 votes (50.14% versus 49.86% for Fujimori) with 99.93% of the polling stations scrutinized, so now the whole process depends on what the JNE resolves in the face of challenge requests to proclaim the winner.
Right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori addresses her supporters during a demonstration in Lima, Peru. Photo EFE
Although the JNE does not have a peremptory deadline to pronounce itself, analysts believe that must hasten to end the uncertainty, that has fueled tension in the country.
“This is a decisive week, because the JNE cannot hold out much longer [en entregar su veredicto]. There are far-right people asking to annul the election, but that would break the democratic order, because we all know that Castillo has won, “analyst Hugo Otero told AFP on Monday.
“If the jury does not appear soon, the impact of the groups that want to annul the election is amplified, what it would be to ignore the popular will“he added.
The uncertainty is such that if the process is prolonged until July 28, when the term of interim president Francisco Sagasti, the head of the incoming Congress, expires could assume the presidency and call new electionsformer legislator Víctor Andrés García Belaúnde told a local channel on Sunday.
After a kind of Sunday break, this Monday demonstrations are called from both sides in Lima, some to denounce fraud and others to defend their votes, similar to those registered last week.
“This week is critical for several factors, the credibility of the JNE and the ONPE is in question, what would add to the social climate and politician contaminated by this tense and long wait, “analyst and academic Jessica Smith told AFP.
Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, who supports Fujimori from Spain, said on Sunday that the JNE must evaluate the challenges presented by Fujimori, pBut he was cautious about allegations of “fraud.”
“The word fraud is a very dangerous word […]Perhaps it would be prudent, while the JNE does not pronounce itself, do not use the word fraud“, he said in an interview with Channel N.” The ruling […]Whatever it is, it’s going to be heavily criticized. “
The writer reiterated that, in his opinion, a victory for Castillo it would be a “catastrophe” for Peru.
On Sunday the JNE published the distribution of the 130 seats in Congress who will accompany the future president, elected in parallel to the first presidential round, on April 11.
The biggest benches will be from the party Peru Libre, from Castillo (37 seats), and Fuerza Popular, from Fujimori (24), which means that the new president will have to seek alliances for his projects (66 votes to pass a law) or to save himself from dismissal, a very fast procedure in Peru for which they are needed 87 votes.
The new president and the new Congress must take over on July 28, the day that Peru commemorates the bicentennial of its independence.
An anti-corruption prosecutor requested on Thursday preventive detention for Fujimori, for allegedly violating the rules of his parole in the case of illegal contributions from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
The prosecutor’s request, which will be resolved by a court on June 21, added fuel to the stake amid slow scrutiny, in a country mired in political upheaval. which had three presidents in five days in November 2020.
All the tension generated after the ballot is added to the damage caused by the pandemic, which leaves 188,000 dead in the country with the highest mortality rate from covid-19 in the world and that this weekend exceeded two million infections.
Fujimori said on Saturday that the “international left is intervening” in Peru, alluding to the greetings of Latin American leaders to Castillo for his “victory”, among them the Argentine president Alberto Fernández, the Bolivian Luis Arce and the Nicaraguan vice president Rosario Murillo.
AFP Agency, Francisco Jara