Will there be an end to this plot? This Monday, the candidate Keiko Fujimori asked the electoral body to audit the presidential minutes, which for now put Pedro Castillo as the virtual winner. The request, with a request for protection, comes after the authorities denied its declaration of nullity on 802 minutes, alleging that not only were they late but that they did not present reliable evidence of “fraud.”
More than a week after its June 6 elections, Peru remains undefined who won the presidential elections after a polarized second round. Although Pedro Castillo is cited in the country as the virtual winner – he remains in the lead in the squeezed vote count -, there will be no president of the Bicentennial until the National Elections Jury (JNE) declares him elected.
This Monday, the conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori asked the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) for a computer audit of the process of digitizing the electoral records: “We only ask (them) for clean elections and that all irregularities be reviewed. to perform “.
One of his lawyers and advisers in electoral law, Julio César Castiglioni, affirmed that they have found new alleged irregularities.
“A record has 85 votes and zero votes appear in the ONPE. That is, there is a substantial difference. And that has been verified when the table officials themselves have entered to see their minutes. And when they see their minutes, they have seen that Popular Force wins by far and the ONPE has set them zero, “Castiglioni reported to the local newspaper El Comercio, which occupies 80% of the Peruvian media.
However, the electoral authorities and the left-wing candidate for Peru Libre, Pedro Castillo, have indicated that Fujimori’s team has not provided concrete evidence of an alleged electoral fraud. The count so far puts Castillo as the virtual winner.
The request for a computer audit by the former first lady and former congressman came after the majority of the 802 annulment appeals, representing 200,000 votes, were rejected by the electoral juries. These authorities argued that the requests arrived after the due period and did not present reliable evidence of fraud at the voting tables.
Faced with this situation, the leader of the Fuerza Popular party also filed a petition for amparo to agree to review her requests for annulment.
Meanwhile, Castillo, clinging to a narrow lead, has asked not to delay the confirmation of the results. The representative of the left – who has already begun to plan the next government – has assured that Peruvians have already “chosen their path”, while his party has already applauded a victory not yet ratified.
From this political wing, lawyer Aníbal Torres urged Fujimori in the last hours to respect democracy as he had promised in the campaign. He accused her of trying to “delay Castillo’s proclamation,” while reflecting the tense atmosphere in the nation, with marches in favor of each candidate.
Castiglioni, from the legal team of the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, said for his part that he will exhaust the jurisdictional instance of the National Elections Jury (JNE) – the highest electoral body in the country -, but that he does not contemplate going to the Judiciary, since that would be to ignore the results.
The only clear data: the polarization of Peruvian society
Peru is facing a deep political polarization since before the electoral contest and the figures from the polls condemn it. So far, this is the only clear result of the presidential elections.
In the electoral count, which has increased less than 0.02% since Saturday and stands at 99.963% of the tally sheets, Castillo obtains 50.134%, while the Fuerza Popular candidate achieves 49.866%.
The result puts the 51-year-old former teacher with a tight but almost irreversible lead of 48,000 votes.
The division continues to be felt in the streets. Marches of supporters of both candidates have taken to the streets of Lima, with pro-Castillo voters arriving from rural areas and Fujimori supporters backing up his fraud allegations.
All despite the fact that the country is going through its worst phase of the pandemic. The nation has the highest per capita mortality rate in the world, due to the Covid-19 disease.
Magaly Roca, a resident of the Lima capital, confesses that she voted for Castillo in the second round. Although initially not his preferred candidate, Fujimori was even less so.
“She has been putting up too many obstacles (…) All the time she had the majority in Congress, she blocked everything. She is the reason why we have not advanced before. I do not consider her capable of governing,” said Roca, 42 years old.
Carlos Gurmendi, 66, who works as a doorman, declared that he had reluctantly voted for Fujimori. “I voted for the lesser of two evils,” he said. He added that he considers the political situation an “embarrassment”, but that “there could be fraud, it would not be anything unusual.”
A Venezuelan migrant who worked as a manicurist said she was “terrified” by Castillo’s possible presidency. “I left Venezuela because our country has been destroyed (…) What happened in these elections is very sad, we have already experienced it,” said the woman who refused to give her name, pointing out fear of deportation.
However, Castillo has tried to dissociate himself from the accusations by assuring that neither he nor his party are “communists.” “We are workers, like any of you, we have met in the streets and within that framework to ask you for peace of mind,” he defended during his campaign.
If confirmed, the victory of the former rural teacher would be welcomed by the Latin American left. The socialist, who hails from a poor area in northern Peru, has galvanized rural voters who feel abandoned in the country’s growth story. Although not alone. Many other Peruvians, tired of corruption and poverty, place in him the hope of seeing someone outside the system of power.
Meanwhile, international observers in Peru have said that the elections were conducted cleanly and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, called on all parties to remain calm, advocating that the decisions made by the institutions electoral “must be respected”.
It is not yet clear when the country’s electoral body will formally announce the winner, but it is expected that it could take at least another week.
With Reuters, EFE and local media