Peru’s elections will not have a clear winner until the last minute. Equality is maximum. The result at the exit of Ipsos, published this Sunday on television as soon as the closing of the polls was decreed, shows a technical tie between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo. According to this sample for which 30,000 voters have been interviewed, the Fuerza Popular candidate is six tenths ahead of the rural teacher, 50.3% and 49.7% respectively, a distance so small that it is impossible to glimpse who is the real winner. The survey’s margin of error is 3%, which is too large for such a tight result.
Fujimori, a conservative candidate who is running for the third time in elections, received the results of the poll at the headquarters of her party, in Lima, in the capital, in the city. Pedro Castillo in Tacabamba, in the mountains, in the rural world. Two different places from which to observe the country. This has been noticed in the results of the regions, according to this survey. In the places where one or the other has won, it has done so easily. In some cases touching 90% of the votes. The results of another Ipsos poll will be released at midnight, this time a quick count at the polls. A representative and proportional sample, in theory, that could reveal almost a definitive result. Its margin of error is 1%.
The campaign has divided the country into two streams. The tension has been maximum. Castillo, winner of the first round (2.7 million votes, 19%), led the polls for the first fifteen days, but Fujimori came back in the last stretch. The result of this exit poll reflects this trend. It is often said that in Peru the favorite never wins. The daughter of Alberto Fujimori (1.9 million votes in the first round, 13%), the autocrat who ruled the country between 1992 and 2000, has been hyper-present since she managed to move to the second round. At any time the television was turned on, she appeared on the screen dressed in the shirt of the Peruvian team, her campaign uniform. Panels across the country launched messages in his favor in an indirect (although very obvious) way to circumvent the electoral law.
Her main weapon has been to encourage fear of a possible arrival of Castillo, who represents, for her and the Peruvian establishment that has supported her without nuances, an adventure towards communism and economic statism. Fujimori, 46, may be president at a time when she has the least political capital. His last five years of obstruction in Congress mistreated his image. A judge’s charge against her for money laundering doesn’t help either. However, the opposition of much of the nation to what Castillo represents has boosted her in the polls. Historical anti-Fujimorists such as the writer Mario Vargas Llosa have supported it.
The profile of Castillo, a radical left trade unionist, has been much lower than that of his opponent, partly by choice. The 51-year-old also professor has barely offered interviews and has only entered a Lima radio station from time to time to clarify some of the controversies that arose during the campaign. At the rallies he has complained that the neutrality that is assumed to some sectors of society was not being respected. His greatest effort in the final stretch has been spent trying to get away from Vladimir Cerrón, the president of the Peru Libre party, to which he is attached, more as a guest than as a real militant, a dogmatic leftist and close to Cuba and Venezuela. Castillo has tried to attract a more focused and urban voter at the last minute, who might be tempted to vote for Fujimori as the lesser evil.
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