Right-wing Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, who risks losing the second round of elections to a socialist rival, led a protest in Lima on Saturday, again calling for the annulment of votes that did not favor her.
“If the (electoral) jury analyzes this, the elections will be reversed, dear friends,” Fujimori told thousands of supporters, many of them waving Peru’s red and white flag. “I’m the type of person who never gives up. “
Leader Pedro Castillo, a member of the left-wing Peru Libre party, is set to be named the Andean country’s next president, despite Fujimori’s claims, as the tally of the second round of voting earlier this month touches on its end.
But Fujimori this week has increasingly doubled down on unsubstantiated fraud allegations, saying Castillo’s supporters stole votes in rural areas where she got no votes. International observers said there was no evidence of fraud and the election was clean.
Castillo, an elementary school teacher who grew up in a poor village, led the count with 50,000 votes on Saturday night, with only around 16,000 votes remaining to be counted.
Fujimori says she has requested the cancellation of 200,000 ballots already counted, although the majority of those requests were submitted after a critical deadline, meaning they are unlikely to be taken into account. account.
“We won, Professor Pedro Castillo (is) president,” his party wrote on Twitter Friday evening.
Fujimori also criticized the “international left” for pushing for Castillo’s victory, citing how Argentina and Bolivia, countries ruled by left-wing leaders, quickly recognized the socialist candidate as Peru’s elected president.
“Peru is a strategically, geopolitically speaking, crucial country in Latin America, and that’s why the international left is trying this,” Fujimori said at a press conference with foreign media on Saturday morning.
Fujimori, the daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori, is herself facing legal problems.
Prosecutors this week sought to re-incarcerate her on money laundering allegations, for which they are asking for 30 years in prison. Winning the election would end the criminal proceedings against Fujimori until the end of his administration.
Even if Fujimori did manage to overturn some votes, the number of votes still in play makes it unlikely that she will reverse the result.
The tense vote count is the culmination of a bitterly divided election in Peru, where low-income citizens supported Castillo while the wealthy voted for Fujimori.
Peru’s electoral jury, which oversees the country’s elections, on Friday tried to push back a deadline for Fujimori to submit disqualification requests for up to 200,000 votes cast in Peru’s poorest regions, but said in the afternoon that he had backed down on this plan. , paving the way for a victory for Castillo.
Fujimori led a protest on Saturday calling for the protests of those 200,000 voices to be heard, an effort Castillo questioned.
“We call on the (electoral jury) to guarantee and support a clean and fair electoral process,” Castillo tweeted on Friday evening. “The Peruvian people deserve it. “
Fujimori first brought up fraud allegations on Monday, when early scoring in Sunday’s second round showed she was likely to lose by a narrow margin.
A potential Castillo administration has scared the markets, in large part because his party describes itself as Marxist-Leninist.
He has recently sought to appease the markets with a moderate left platform, but it is not yet clear whether his administration will ultimately keep that tone or return to the party’s roots as a far-left organization.
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