Votes from the countryside, the jungle and abroad can define the presidential ballot on Sunday in Peru, where the right-wing Keiko Fujimori surpasses the leftist Pedro Castillo, in a country devastated by the pandemic, in recession and under political uncertainty.
With 92.8% of the polls scrutinized, Keiko Fujimori obtained 50.4% of the votes, against 49.6% for Pedro Castillo, according to a report from the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), released this Monday.
Hours earlier, the first official vote of 42% of the polling stations provoked outbursts of jubilation in wealthy districts of Lima, such as Miraflores, where people went to the windows of their homes to celebrate a partial victory for Fujimori.
Shouts of “Long live Peru!”, “Keiko won!”, Echoed from buildings in the middle of deserted streets due to the night curfew in force due to the pandemic.
Supporters of presidential candidate Pedro Castillo celebrate the results in the quick count. Photo: EFE
The first results injected courage to those who fear to see their country “fall into communism” if Castillo is president.
The Ipsos Quick Count
A few hours earlier, an exit poll by the Ipsos firm had given Fujimori a 50.3% advantage over his rival’s 49.7%, but then a quick vote count from the same pollster yielded an inverse result, with 50.2% for the rural school teacher and 49.8% for the daughter of the imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori.
The quick count, which has a margin of error of 1%, “He has never been wrong” in the Peruvian presidential elections, said Fernando Tuesta, former head of the ONPE.
Castillo supporters celebrate the results in the quick count. Photo: EFE
“The closest thing to the final result is the (quick count) of Ipsos,” Tuesta remarked through Twitter.
The ONPE always delivers results from urban areas in its first reports and the missing percentage, which takes time to be scrutinized, comes from rural, jungle and foreign areas.
If there are no setbacks this Monday, the results may reach irreversible levels, but they are not ruled out vote challenges, which would delay the definition in case of a narrow difference.
Castillo, 51, reacted calmly to the partial scrutiny and from his native Cajamarca (north) warned that “our votes, from the rural area, still need to be counted.”
Fujimori, 46, did not comment on the first official figures, which he received with his family at his home in Lima. Shortly before, he had commented that the exit poll results should be taken with “prudence” because the margin of difference was “small”.
“Here there is no winner or loser, here what you have to finally look for is the unity of all Peruvians, “he added grimly.
An electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) is in Peru monitoring the elections, led by Rubén Ramírez, former Foreign Minister of Paraguay, and has so far supported the work of the Peruvian electoral authorities.
Keiko Fujimori may end up being the first president of Peru, A goal for which he has worked 15 years since he assumed the task of rebuilding almost from the ashes the right-wing political movement founded by his father in 1990.
But losing the ballot would not only imply his third defeat at the polls, but will have to go to trial at the risk of ending up in jail.
Fujimori is under the scrutiny of the prosecution for the case of the illegal contributions of the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, a scandal that also affected four former Peruvian presidents. That’s enough 16 months in prison preventive for this cause.
Married with two daughters, if she wins she would set a precedent by being the first woman in the Americas to come to power following his father’s footprints.
On the other hand is Castillo, who came out of anonymity four years ago by leading a strike by the teachers and who, if he wins, would be the first Peruvian president no ties to political elites, economic and cultural.
Castillo “would be the first poor president of Peru,” analyst Hugo Otero told AFP.
On July 28, the new president will take the reins of a country in crisis, which has had four leaders since 2018, which has the highest death rate in the world due to the pandemic, with more than 185,000 deaths in a population of 33 million inhabitants. .
Last year, the health crisis forced the economy to semi-paralyze for more than 100 days, which led to a recession and a drop in GDP of 11.12% in 2020.