Country profile of Peru, where the presidential runoff vote was held on June 6, 2021
Right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori held a narrow lead Monday in Peru’s presidential election, but the crisis-hit nation’s race was too close to call as votes were still being tabulated from countryside bastions of support for radical leftist Pedro Castillo.
Fujimori had 50.27 percent of ballots to Castillo’s 49.7 percent, according to partial results from Peru’s electoral body, with about 90 percent of polling stations counted after voting Sunday in a country battered by years of political turbulence.
Peruvians will also look to the winner to end years of political turmoil after four presidents in the last three years, and with seven of the last 10 of the country’s leaders either having been convicted of or investigated for corruption.
“They haven’t counted our votes yet,” Castillo told supporters Sunday in Tacabamba, in the northern Cajamarca region where he lives.
Fujimori, 46, also called for caution, saying: “Seeing how small the gap is, it is essential to maintain prudence and I say that for all Peruvians.”
– ‘Too tight’ –
“It’s still very unsure — the difference is too tight and we have to wait for the official result.”
At the height of the political storm in November last year, Peru had three different presidents in just five days.
For voters, this was a choice between polar opposites.
Fujimori’s bastion is the capital Lima, while Castillo’s bulwark is the rural deep interior.
Favored by the business sector and middle classes, Fujimori tried to portray Castillo as a communist threat, warning that Peru would become a new Venezuela or North Korea should he win.
Keiko Fujimori is under investigation over campaign funding in her 2011 and 2016 presidential bids and has already spent 16 months in pre-trial detention.
– ‘It won’t be easy’ –
Whoever wins will have a hard time governing as Congress is fragmented.
“It won’t be easy (for Fujimori) given the mistrust her name and that of her family generates in many sectors. She’ll have to quickly calm the markets and generate ways to reactivate them,” added Smith.
But in either case, “it will take time to calm the waters because there’s fierce polarization and an atmosphere of social conflict,” analyst Luis Pasaraindico told AFP.
The new president will take office on July 28, replacing centrist interim leader Francisco Sagasti.