The Guardian • Issue #1957

Peru’s electoral authority declares presidential runoff June 6

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #1957

Peruvian presidential candidate for the radical leftist party Peru Libre (Free Peru), Pedro Castillo, holds up a giant pencil and a hat during the closing rally of his campaign in Lima on April 8, 2021. - Castillo 51-year-old school teacher native of Cajamarca, aspires to surprise the elections in Peru, after leaving anonymity in 2017 by leading a long strike by the teachers. He gained prominence with options to move on to the decisive second round, during the electoral debates, according to the polls. (Photo by Gian MASKO / AFP) (Photo by GIAN MASKO/AFP via Getty Images)

On a more than 10-hour election day, Peruvians went to the polls to elect their new president; however, the campaign will be extended until June 6 with the second-round runoff.

Pedro Castillo, known for leading a Peruvian teachers’ strike in 2017, was the first-place winner in the polls, while Keiko Fujimori, the eldest daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori, and right-wing economist Hernando de Soto, continue to fight for the other runoff slot after polls closed at 7:00 PM.

While Fujimori bets on continuing her father’s legacy, alleviating pandemic measures, promoting large mining projects, and generating new jobs, Soto reiterated that he would continue with an expansive fiscal and monetary policy to help reactivate the economy, support businesses and strengthen border controls.

One of the elements that clouded Fujimori’s campaign, according to Reuters, was the investigation against her for alleged money laundering and the receipt of more than US$1.2 million from Odebrecht, for which she may face a sentence of up to 31 years in prison. The candidate has always denied the charges.

The day passed without a clear favourite. However, candidates such as Pedro Castillo, of the Peru Libre party and Hernando de Soto, of the Avanza Pais party asserted throughout the day that they were the most favoured with 16.1 per cent and 12.9 per cent, respectively in the last survey conducted in the country.

Peru Libre has defined itself as a “Marxist-Leninist-Mariateguist” party, while its leader Vladimir Cerrón has asserted that due to the party’s “provincial” origins, it would represent “deep Peru.”

Castillo’s party, explicitly anti-imperialist and internationalist, appears to promote robust state control and regulation of the national economy in favour of people’s interests.

Similarly, the party that received the most votes supports a rewriting of the country’s constitution, defends the state apparatus’s decentralisation, and supports the revolutionary processes of countries such as Cuba and Nicaragua.

A significant element that disturbed election authorities and voters’ tranquility on Sunday was the number of polls enabled in the country’s different cities; these could not be set up by the National Office of Electoral Processes (Onpe).

San Isidro, Miraflores, San Borja, and Surco were the districts with the lowest number of voting tables in the morning hours, which forced authorities to call on young people to volunteer.

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