LIMA, June 28 (Reuters) – Right-wing Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, who is fighting to overturn the original June 6 election result that showed her behind her socialist rival Pedro Castillo, could run out of time – and her allies .
Castillo, who rocked the Andean country’s political establishment, finished with a narrow lead of 44,000 votes with all the ballots counted, though the result was delayed with Fujimori alleging fraud and seeking to have the votes disqualified.
That offer seemed to falter, however, as potential allies distanced themselves from Fujimori, the daughter of the divisive ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is currently in prison for corruption and human rights violations.
“Enough already,” said a weekend editorial in the conservative El Comercio, which is part of one of the South American country’s most powerful media conglomerates that has generally backed Fujimori.
“Today, it is clear that what started with the use of legitimate legal resources to question the relevance of certain elections (…) has become an attempt by different political sectors to delay the process as much as possible. “
Castillo’s Free Peru Party and the electorate denied any allegations of fraud and international election observers said the vote was conducted cleanly. The US State Department went further, calling it a “model of democracy.”
On Monday, Fujimori visited the government palace and delivered a letter to interim president Francisco Sagasti, requesting an international audit of the vote. His claims have been supported by some voters and some retired military personnel.
The election jury, which was forced to suspend consideration of disputed ballots last week after one of the judges resigned, resumed work on Monday to complete the process, necessary to announce the final result.
HEAD OF CENTRAL BANK?
Close elections divided the country between the wealthiest urban elites and the poorest rural areas. On Saturday, thousands of Peruvians from both sides took to the streets in uncertainty over the outcome. Read more
Castillo, a 51-year-old former teacher and son of peasants, rocked investors and mining companies with plans to rewrite the constitution and retain a larger share of the profits from mineral resources, including copper.
He did seek to temper those fears, however, by appointing more moderate economic advisers and over the weekend he said he wanted to retain well-respected central bank chairman Julio Velarde, a key signal of stability for the markets. Read more
Pedro Francke, a left-wing economist who is now Castillo’s economic spokesperson, said the candidate spoke to Velarde on Monday, who was due to step down in July after the current administration ends.
“Institutionally, this is the most important thing,” Francke told local radio Exitosa, adding that there was still work to be done to convince Velarde to stay.
“In fact, Julio Velarde himself said ‘Well I’m a little tired, I’ll think about it.’ Well, we have agreed to speak later when Pedro Castillo has been officially confirmed so we can set up a formal meeting, ”Francke said.
Report by Marco Aquino; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Dan Grebler
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