Leftist Pedro Castillo finally confirmed as Peru’s next president

Left-wing candidate Pedro Castillo has finally been confirmed as Peru’s next president and will be sworn in next week after one of the longest and fiercest electoral battles in the country’s history.

The national electoral jury confirmed Castillo’s victory in a televised address Monday night, more than six weeks after a second ballot. Keiko Fujimori, Castillo’s only rival for the presidency, reluctantly admitted defeat, saying she “would recognize the results because that’s what the law and the constitution I have sworn to uphold order”.

However, Fujimori called the JNE’s announcement “illegitimate” and said the electoral fraud which she said tipped the vote in favor of Castillo “will be exposed”.

In a blow to Castillo and Vladimir Cerrón, the hard-line Marxist leader of his political party, Fujimori, the daughter of the country’s former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, warned that Peru was embarking on a dangerous new chapter.

“It will be difficult because communism does not take power and then give it up,” she said. “But I’m totally sure the Peruvians won’t allow Pedro Castillo and Vladimir Cerrón to turn Peru into Cuba or Venezuela.”

Peru’s electoral authorities said a few weeks ago that Fujimori lost the second round of June 6 by 44,000 votes, a margin of 49.9% to 50.1%. The EU, the Organization of American States and the US called the elections fair. Washington insofar as call the survey “a model of democracy in the region”.

But echoing Donald Trump in last year’s US presidential election, Fujimori insisted the winning party of Free Peru had cheated. His lawyers bombarded the JNE with objections, forcing the body to scrutinize ballots from across the country and delaying the official announcement of the winner.

Analysts consulted by the Financial Times said lawyers produced evidence of irregularities, but not enough to significantly affect the outcome.

“There is no evidence of fraud. Nothing, ”said David Sulmont, professor of political science at the Pontifical Catholic University of Lima. “In a world where everyone has a cell phone, if there had been fraud, it would have already surfaced on social media and it hasn’t. His story is 100% fake news.

Castillo, 51, is a rural primary school teacher who emerged from obscurity to win the election in appeal to the poor of Peru, especially in the remote villages of the Andes and the Amazon basin. His campaign slogan – “more poor people in a rich country” – resonated with many.

The prospect of his victory pushed the Peruvian currency, the sol, to unprecedented levels against the dollar. It has depreciated 9% since Castillo became a potential election winner in April despite repeated interventions by the central bank. Wealthy Peruvians transferred money out of the country.

Castillo denies that he is a Marxist, but his critics point to Cerrón’s influence on the party.

A Cuban-trained physician who was unable to present himself due to a corruption conviction, Cerrón was the author of a notorious manifesto that praised Daniel ortega in Nicaragua and Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela. He warned foreign companies in Peru that they would have to hand over most of their profits to the state and face expropriation if they refused.

Castillo has since moved away from the document and approached more moderate leftists, although he insisted he would attempt to rewrite the country’s 1993 constitution.

His party will only have 37 of the 130 seats in Peru’s fragmented Congress and may struggle to govern. The country’s constitution also lends itself to politicians to impeach the president – Castillo will be the fifth leader in five years.

He will take office on July 28, the 200th anniversary of Peru’s independence from Spanish rule.

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