| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Peru’s Fujimori loses allies as bid to flip election result falters

Keiko Fujimori, Peru’s right-wing presidential contender, may be running out of time – and friends – to reverse the first results of a June 6 poll that showed her trailing socialist competitor Pedro Castillo.

With all ballots counted, Castillo, who has unsettled the Andean country’s political establishment, concluded with a tiny 44,000-vote advantage, however the outcome has been postponed due to Fujimori’s allegations of fraud and attempts to get votes rejected.

However, potential partners have distanced themselves from Fujimori, the daughter of contentious ex-President Alberto Fujimori, who is presently serving a jail sentence for corruption and human rights violations.

“Enough already,” said a weekend editorial in the conservative newspaper El Comercio, part of one of the most powerful media conglomerates in the South American country that has generally backed Fujimori.

“Today it is clear that what began with the use of legitimate legal resources to question the suitability of some ballots… has started to become an attempt by different political sectors to delay the process as much as possible.”

Castillo’s Free Peru party and the electoral body have denied any claims of fraud and international election observers have said the vote was carried out cleanly. The U.S. State Department went further, calling it a “model of democracy.”

On Monday, Fujimori went to the government palace and delivered a letter to the interim president, Francisco Sagasti, requesting an international audit of the vote. Her claims have won backing by some voters and some retired military personnel.

The electoral jury, which was forced to halt reviewing contested ballots last week after one of the judges tendered his resignation, resumed its work on Monday to complete the process, needed to announce the final result.


The tight election has split the country between wealthier urban elites and poorer rural areas. On Saturday thousands of Peruvians on both sides took to the streets amid uncertainty over the outcome.

Castillo, a 51-year-old former teacher and son of peasant farmers, has shaken up investors and mining firms with plans to rewrite the Constitution and keep a larger share of profits from mineral resources including copper.

He has attempted to calm markets by hiring more moderate economic advisers, and he stated over the weekend that he wants to keep well-respected central bank chief Julio Velarde, a critical indication of stability to markets.

Castillo spoke with Velarde on Monday, according to Pedro Francke, a left-leaning economist who is now Castillo’s economic spokesman. Velarde was set to leave down in July at the end of the current administration.

“This is the most essential thing from an institutional standpoint,” Francke told Exitosa local radio, adding that there was still more to be done to persuade Velarde to stay.

“In fact Julio Velarde himself has said ‘Well, I’m a little tired, I’ll think about it.’ And well, we have agreed to talk later when Pedro Castillo has been officially confirmed and so we can set up a formal meeting,” Francke said.

  • Reuters