Peru is headed for days of political uncertainty as the second-placed candidate in a tight presidential runoff accused her contender of election fraud and promised to fight until the very last vote is counted.
Keiko Fujimori, a market favourite who lost her initial lead to leftist Pedro Castillo as votes from Peru’s rural areas trickled in, said the rival party has been “distorting or delaying” the results of the election. She provided no evidence to back up her claim, but said she would do so.
Local and international observers have said they believe voting was fair. The Organization of American States didn’t detect any major problems during the election, according to a preliminary assessment.
“A series of irregularities have been occurring,” she told reporters, adding however that she was optimistic about her chances of winning once votes from Peruvians living abroad are fully accounted for. “We have a lot of faith, we trust and we will carefully await the final results.”
Castillo, a rural school teacher who promises to redistribute wealth, had 50.3% of the votes with 94.9% of the ballots counted. Fujimori, the daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, came second with 49.7%, a difference of 98,171 votes.
Peruvian assets tumbled, with the sol posting its worst single-day performance in a decade, as investors contemplated the possibility of a left-leaning government in the Andean country.
Fujimori, who is under investigation for corruption and campaigned while out on bail, has vowed to save the country from “communism” by preserving a liberal economic model and boosting cash payments to families affected by the pandemic.
Castillo, by contrast, has pledged to increase taxes on mining and oil companies to invest on education and health. He blames the country’s inequality on the ruling elite whom he says has long been content to run Peru from Lima while ignoring large swathes of the country.
Yet he tried to assuage investor concerns about his
possible administration by promising in a statement to respect the central bank’s autonomy and honour public debt obligations. He also ruled out nationalisations, expropriations, the confiscation of savings and any price, currency or import controls.