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Peru's Castillo on verge of being named President after last-minute vote wrangling

CommoditiesJun 12, 2021 07:07AM ET
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3/3 © Reuters. Peru's presidential candidate Pedro Castillo addresses supporters from the headquarters of the "Free Peru" party, in Lima, Peru June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Alessandro Cinque 2/3

By Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) -Peru's presidential election front-runner Pedro Castillo was poised for victory on Friday night, despite legal wrangles over the ultra-close vote count that had ignited tensions in the Andean nation.

"We call on the Peruvian people to stay alert," Castillo told supporters in the middle of last-minute legal disputes over the tight vote count.

According to local media, electoral authorities had considered changing rules to allow right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori to challenge the validity of some 200,000 votes but ultimately declined to make the changes in the afternoon, following intense pressure from Castillo's camp.

Castillo is ahead of Fujimori by 60,000 votes with 99.6% of votes counted.

Castillo, an elementary school teacher who has fired up support from poorer, rural Peruvians, had raised concerns about plans by the opposition to nullify votes in underserved areas where he had majority support and sought clarity from the electoral body over the process.

The comments underscored rising tensions in the copper-rich nation that has been on tenterhooks since the Sunday vote. Castillo has 50.2% of the ballots, narrowly ahead of Fujimori, who has made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

Peru's electoral jury has not commented during the day on the media reports that said it was considering changing the rules.

Vladimir Cerron, head of Castillo's Free Peru party, was even more strident, saying on Twitter that "the people must rise up" in defense of the vote. He had earlier claimed victory for Castillo in the knife-edge election.

The country's electoral authority has yet to confirm a winner, but most observers and some regional leftist leaders, including from Argentina and Bolivia, have congratulated Castillo as the victor, prompting protests from Peru's government.

"Several presidents in the world are congratulating the victory of Pedro Castillo, in other words, he has solid international legitimacy," Cerron wrote.

A DIVIDED PERU

Fujimori has yet to concede the election and her supporters have called for protests against the result.

The daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, she has doubled down on unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, and members of her party have said they will not concede until all votes and appeals are counted, which could still take days.

Castillo himself has also stopped short of proclaiming himself the winner.

The election has bitterly divided Peruvians among class lines, with higher-income citizens supporting Fujimori while many low-income Peruvians supported Castillo, including in key mining regions of the country, the world's no. 2 copper producer.

Castillo was not a member of the Free Peru party before his presidency run. It is still unclear whether he would adopt its far-leftist stance for the economy if in power.

In recent days, he has recruited Pedro Francke, a moderate left economist as his adviser.

Peru's Castillo on verge of being named President after last-minute vote wrangling
 

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Comments (4)
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Ad Cline Jun 12, 2021 10:20AM ET
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recent good examples of nations with far right political and authoritarian elements to put or keep a political party or person in power using voting fraud ...Russia, Miramar, and Venezuela. there was an attempt by Trump and his supporters to keep Trump in power during and after America's 2020 election through Trump's use of lies, inserection and voting fraud. but it failed.
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Ad Cline Jun 12, 2021 9:44AM ET
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Felipe, the price of copper has already gone up because of increased world wide economic activity not political actions in Peru.
James Andrews
James Andrews Jun 11, 2021 11:52PM ET
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These dirty communists are stealing elections everywhere..
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Levan Jackson
Levan Jackson Jun 11, 2021 11:52PM ET
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why do all trump supporters mangle grammar? and most of you wouldn't know a communist if it hit you in the head
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Ad Cline Jun 11, 2021 11:52PM ET
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Danny boy.. trump was a crook and a business cheat all his business life. a proven serial liar, con man. and a self admitted sexual predator, who through lies, intimidation, and inserection tried to steal the 2920 Presidental election. those are facts and eye witness accounts viewed by millions of people world wide. according to Trump's Attorney General his Vice President this was the fairist most scrutinized election in modern American history. what little voting fraud there was, was commited by mostly Trump supporters. if you chose to believe Trump's big lie ok. if you have substantiated proof then turn that over to the FBI. Trump supporters failed to offer any proof to 60+ courts that there was any organized effort to steall the election or any massive voter fraud. statistically, when there is massive voter turnout, in any election, Republicans ussually loose. this 2020 election had one of the biggest turnouts in American history.
Jody Darden
Jody Darden Jun 11, 2021 11:52PM ET
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Ad Cline Trump better than Biden. Biden even used N word on CSPAN live television.
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Ad Cline Jun 11, 2021 11:52PM ET
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james... your starting to sound like a mafia character in a 1930s crime movie or Donald Trump. you know " those dirty rats"
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Ad Cline Jun 11, 2021 11:52PM ET
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Jody..Trump is a proven thief cheat con man and serial liar.he is a self admitted sexual preditor... using a false analogy to try and change the subject doesn't work. trump is a crook has always been a crook before during and after he was President.
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jun 11, 2021 8:00PM ET
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Price of copper going up
 
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