The new electoral defeat of Keiko Fujimori, who for the third time in a row was on the verge of being the first woman to reach the Presidency of Peru, leaves right-wing politics an uncertain future, where you can end up sitting in the dock for alleged money laundering.
The daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) not only saw her presidential ambitions frustrated again, but also the possibility of temporarily avoiding a prosecution charge of more than 30 years in prisonHe and the option to release his father, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity.
If in 2011 she was surpassed at the polls by the retired military officer Ollanta Humala and in 2016 by the economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, this time she was beaten by the rural school teacher and union leader Pedro Castillo, whose victory was confirmed on Monday.
The result is practically traced to that of five years ago, where the election was defined by just 40,000 votes, a narrow margin that neither then nor now convinced Fujimori, but it is on this last occasion that the right-wing has decided to denounce an alleged “fraud” without reliable evidence.
The president-elect of Peru, the leftist Pedro Castillo. Photo EFE
He did so from the day after the vote, when he saw that his new electoral defeat was irreversible, which led him to present more than a thousand challenges and legal resources that were rejected in their entirety by the electoral authorities and that delayed Castillo’s official proclamation for a month and a half.
Therefore, a few hours before Castillo’s appointment, Fujimori anticipated in a conference that he will respect the announcement but who will consider him an “illegitimate” president and will continue to insist on finding evidence of the alleged fraud.
This contrast between respecting the proclamation but not the election brought to mind the very similar position taken by Fujimori in 2016, when he accepted his defeat. but launched a fierce siege on the Government from Congress, that he controlled with an absolute majority, having obtained 73 of the 130 congressmen.
Product of this obstructionist opposition to Kuczynski and later to his successor, Martín Vizcarra (2018-2020), Peru added four presidents and two different parliaments in the last five years, in a deep and long political and institutional crisis to which was added the economic and health caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
Under this scenario the elections for the bicentennial of Peru were held, where Fujimori resurfaced despite not starting this time as a favorite, as he arrived weakened after spending 15 months in provisional prison for the alleged irregular financing of his previous electoral campaigns.
According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, Fujimori incurred in alleged money laundering by hiding in a false accounting millionaire donations from companies, among them 3.6 million dollars from Credicorp, the largest financial group in the country, and apparently one million dollars from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Therefore, the Prosecutor’s Office has requested Fujimori 30 years and 10 months in jail, in an accusation pending review by the Justice, which in the coming weeks must decide whether to open a lawsuit against her, something that would have eluded if she won the elections, at least for as long as she would have been president.
Kemji Fujimori, Keiko’s brother, may try to take his place as the leader of Fujimori. AFP photo
Harder to venture yet turns out his political future as the main leader of the Peruvian right, a role that he returned to exercise despite his time in prison but that he may lose in the future before the irruption in this last electoral campaign of other profiles such as that of the ultra-conservative businessman Rafael López Aliaga.
It is also unclear if Fujimorism will continue to lead, since its third electoral defeat may make His younger brother, Kenji Fujimori, takes center stage, who three years ago created his own party, parallel to that of his sister, although in this electoral campaign they have made peace again.
For the moment Keiko’s options to emulate her father disappear again, of whom she was already his first lady when he was 19 years old, after a life dedicated to politics and almost entirely to seek the Presidency.