Pedro Castillo narrowly ahead of Keiko Fujimori 

In the second round of Peru's presidential election, the left-wing candidate is only one point ahead of the daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori
El candidato presidencial de Perú, Pedro Castillo, se dirige a sus seguidores desde la sede del partido "Perú Libre", en Lima, Perú el 8 de junio de 2021 REUTERS/SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA

REUTERS/SEBASTIAN CASTANEDA  -   Peru's presidential candidate Pedro Castillo addresses supporters at the headquarters of the "Peru Libre" party in Lima, Peru on 8 June 2021

On Sunday 6 June, Peru held the second round of the presidential elections between Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori. The election day took place calmly throughout the national territory, with a citizen participation of 74.7%, Peru elected its new head of state. With 99.7% of the votes processed according to the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), Pedro Castillo obtained 50.2%, representing some 8,753,448 votes, while the right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori obtained 49.7% of the votes, representing 8,663,683 votes. The difference between the two candidates is almost 90,000 votes, and Fujimori's party "Fuerza Popular" denounced fraud and irregularities during the process.

La candidata presidencial de la derecha peruana por Fuerza Popular, Keiko Fujimori, gesticula durante una conferencia de prensa en la sede de su partido en Lima el 7 de junio de 2021 AFP/GIAN MASKO
AFP/GIAN MASKO-Peruvian right-wing presidential candidate for Fuerza Popular, Keiko Fujimori, gestures during a press conference at her party's headquarters in Lima on June 7, 2021.

At the beginning of the vote count, Fujimori was ahead of Castillo by a difference of 2 to 3 points. With 42% of the votes counted, Fujimori had 52.9% of the votes, while Castillo had 47.09% of the votes cast, at that moment it seemed that the advantage was irreversible, but after a few hours when 77% of the votes had been counted, the advantage began to shrink to only 2.5 points. With 95% of the votes counted for the first time, Castillo was leading by 0.2%, which at the time represented almost 40,000 votes. During the process, the rural vote came in last and that was what caused Castillo to be able to turn the presidential race around at the last moment, while Fujimori's militants opted for the fraud option, without providing any kind of evidence.

Trabajadores electorales esperan a una persona para votar en la segunda vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales entre la candidata derechista Keiko Fujimori y el socialista Pedro Castillo, en Lima, Perú el 6 de junio de 2021 REUTERS/LIZ TASA
REUTERS/LIZ TASA-Election workers wait for a person to vote in the run-off presidential election between right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori and socialist Pedro Castillo, in Lima, Peru on June 6, 2021.

During Tuesday morning, several supporters of both Castillo and Fujimori approached the ONPE headquarters, which was guarded by the police, where they guarded the perimeter of the electoral institution. The tension increased during the closing of the polling stations, due to the slow count that is being carried out; previously, the president of the ONPE announced that it would take more than three days to announce an official winner. What remains to be counted is the overseas vote, which, according to the polls, will favour Fujimori, but we will not know if it will be enough to overtake Castillo. 

Another piece of information is that there are 483 challenged polling station reports, these reports are sent to the electoral jury, each report has between 200 to 300 voters, and in total there are 1,384 reports that have material errors and that will be reviewed by the authorities, therefore, it is expected that both candidates will fight for the review of all of them. Fujimori gave a press conference in which she demanded that the irregularities be clarified, pointing out that they have evidence of these irregularities, "there are indications of fraud at the table, which for us is considered unacceptable. It is something that is planned, systematic, which is why it is important to alert the public so that they can let us know if there have been any other incidents," said Fujimori. 

Portadas de los periódicos peruanos expuestos en un quiosco en Lima el 7 de junio de 2021, el día después de la segunda vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales AFP/LUKAS GONZALEZ
AFP/LUKAS GONZALEZ-Front pages of Peruvian newspapers on display at a newsstand in Lima on 7 June 2021, the day after the second round of the presidential election.

Meanwhile, during the process, Castillo referred to his supporters: "We must be vigilant to defend the democracy that is expressed in every single vote, inside and outside our beloved Peru. We cannot rest. May this historic vigil allow for the rebirth of a new country". Meanwhile, Peru Libre's campaign command posted the following tweet: "It was Fujimorism that carried out the fraud in 2000, staged a coup d'état that managed the judiciary and other institutions at will, destabilised Peru from Congress. Something doesn't add up in your accusation of fraud? Yesterday he said he would respect the results.  At the moment we have to wait for the electoral authorities to review the contested results, and also for the counting of the votes from abroad to be completed in order to find out who will be the new president of Peru. 

Latin America Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.