In Peru, socialist candidate Pedro Castillo leads the tight presidential poll

In Peru, socialist candidate Pedro Castillo leads the tight presidential poll

Peruvian socialist Pedro Castillo overtook right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori on Monday in the vote tally for the country’s presidential election, taking the lead in the official tally thanks to a late wave of rural votes.

The official tally for Sunday’s election showed foreign candidate Castillo with 50.1% and Fujimori with 49.9%, with more than 94% of the votes counted. The left-wing candidate lagged behind in the early count, but took up to 75% of the newly-counted vote updates to gradually emerge.

Castillo, the son of peasants, has pledged to shake up the constitution and mining laws of the Andean nation, scaring copper producers and local markets, which fell sharply on Monday as he won the race. Read more

The rigor of the result could also lead to days of uncertainty and tension. The vote highlighted a sharp divide between the capital Lima and the country’s rural hinterland, which propelled Castillo’s unexpected rise. Read more

Lucia Dammert, a Peruvian scholar based in Chile, predicted the next few days would be volatile, with potential challenges to votes, recount demands and street protests by supporters of the losers’ camp.

“All we want right now is democracy, everything to be democratic. Whoever wins, the other accepts it and doesn’t start any problems,” said Lili Rocha, a voter in Lima after clashes broke out during the night.

As the results arrived on Sunday night, Castillo, 51, rallied his supporters to “defend the vote” when an exit poll showed him behind, though he later called for calm.

Fujimori, 46, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is in prison for human rights violations and corruption, also called for “caution, calm and peace for both groups.”

Castillo’s Free Peru Party said on Twitter that the candidate, who had traveled to his rural northern constituency to vote, would arrive in the capital Lima on Monday morning, “to ensure that the will of the people is respected.”

JP Morgan said in a note that it could be days before the final election result is clear and the two candidates could choose to wait until that process is complete before declaring victory or admitting. the defeat.

An unofficial swift tally by Ipsos Peru on Sunday night had given Castillo a fractional lead, after an exit poll said rival Fujimori would win, leaving the copper-rich country, investors and consumers alike. mining companies guess. Read more

The latest data shows Fujimori with 8.38 million votes against 8.42 million for Castillo. The slower-to-count rural vote contributed to Castillo’s belated accusation, although uncounted overseas ballots may still boost Fujimori.

“Unless the scenario too close to the call described by the rapid tally turns out to be wrong, we look set for a number of days of heightened uncertainty ahead,” JP Morgan said.

Castillo’s sudden rise to power since his first-round victory in April has pissed off markets and frightened mining companies worried about plans to sharply increase taxes on mining profits and threats of nationalization.

Analysts say, however, whoever wins will have a weakened term given the marked divisions in Peru, and will face a fragmented Congress with no party holding a majority, which could block any major reform.

The two candidates have promised very different remedies for a country that had three presidents in a week last year and suffered a severe economic crisis sparked by the world’s deadliest per capita COVID-19 epidemic. Read more

Fujimori is committed to following the free market model and maintaining economic stability in Peru, the second largest copper producer in the world, with “a firm mother’s hand.” Read more

Castillo, who has become a champion of the poor, has vowed to overhaul the constitution to strengthen the role of the state and extract more of the profits from mining companies. Read more

Street vendor Natalia Flores said she did not vote for any of the candidates, but hoped whoever wins will lead the country past the recent political turmoil and the pandemic.

“Whoever comes out on top, I think he will have to do a good job because in Peru, the problem of the pandemic is terrible for us economically. The work is unstable,” she said.

“Whether it’s Mr. Castillo or Ms. Keiko (Fujimori), I hope they will do a good job over the next five years.”