Lima, Peru – The official result has not yet been declared, however Pedro Castell He seems to be the next president of Peru, except for sure.
The radical left foreigner will face an upward struggle to unite the bitterly divided Andean nation, however, and the most urgent question will be whether to moderate his policy or insist on Marxist policies in his manifesto of the Free Peru party.
These proposals include making Peru’s large mining sector leave 70 percent of its profits in the country, nationalize the media, and spend 20 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on education and health, more than the country has never increased in tax revenue.
With all 18.8 million votes cast in the second round of presidential elections on June 6, Castillo has 50.15% support, which gives him a lead as thin as a razor of just over 50,000 votes against his right-wing opponent Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed President Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s.
She has lamented fraud, despite international observers giving clear health to the election, and this week has hired some of Lima’s top lawyers in an attempt to annul 200,000 votes, mostly from impoverished rural areas in the Andes and the Amazon, where Castillo won overwhelmingly. some cases with more than 80 percent support.
But Fujimori’s effort, which is unprecedented in Peruvian electoral history and has delayed the official declaration of winner, seems to have failed.
The National Electoral Court of Peru (JNA, according to its acronym in Spanish) ruled on Friday that most of its challenges had come after the legal deadline. There are now just under 40,000 votes at stake, insufficient to nullify the result.
However, the latest effort by Fujimori, 46, who is facing trial and a possible jail term for alleged money laundering, has further polarized Peru after the divisive presidential campaign.
Many commentators have pointed out how their legal team, made up largely of white lawyers, was effectively trying to disauthorize indigenous and mixed-race voters.
“It’s part of our political and legal culture, this whole process,” Arturo Maldonado, a political scientist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, told Al Jazeera. “She’s a candidate who has everything to lose and uses these tricks to win in court what she couldn’t do on the field.”
Fujimori’s refusal to concede it has probably also increased the challenges Castillo, 51, will have to face a provincial schoolteacher and union leader to establish his legitimacy in office.
The two deeply unpopular candidates received only 13 and 19 percent, respectively, in the first crowded round, and the second round was seen by the majority of Peruvians as a vote for the candidate considered the lesser of two evils.
With no experience in public office, and having frequently contradicted himself in the trajectory of the campaign, Castillo will face an incoming and outward-leaning incoming Congress that is unlikely to sign his economic plans, especially nationalizations.
He will also face the risk of dismissal, with or without cause. The outgoing Congress set this precedent last November when it did Removed the then president, Martín Vizcarra, of the post, based on allegations of corruption that have not only been proven, but still had to be seriously investigated.
“It is possible that Castillo will only turn his back on Congress and try to govern by plebiscite,” Maldonado said.
Another key issue will be how Castillo addresses Peru’s anti-corruption fight.
Two cases will serve as the first litmus test. The first is that of Keiko Fujimori, in which prosecutors are seeking a 31-year sentence for money laundering allegations she denies, while the second is that of Vladimir Cerrón, the former regional governor and Cuban-trained surgeon who founded the Free Peru.
Cerrón had chosen the unknown Castillo to replace him with the presidential ticket after he was banned from running for president due to a conviction for corruption. On Thursday, a court controversially overturned his sentence and his four-year suspended sentence. The judge is now being investigated and Cerrón, who many Peruvians believe will be the driver of the back seat of the Castillo administration, faces half a dozen more fraud investigations.
Cerrón often made controversial comments suggesting that he, not Castillo, was leading the campaign. The presidential candidate, however, tried to downplay it, insisting in one case that his mentor would not even be hired as a “janitor” in his administration.
“Castillo has to do a lot more to clearly distance itself from Cerrón,” said Samuel Rotta, who heads the Peruvian chapter of Transparency International. “His presidency could depend on it, but also his anti-corruption strategy.”
Hope for “enlightenment”
Meanwhile, the mood has been tense in Peru while the country awaits the final result. Legal challenges are expected to occur next week, which will delay the start of the transition the coronavirus pandemic it continues to sweep the country.
Fujimori supporters were picketing the offices of the electoral agency, ONPE, and the houses of the JNE and ONPE chief. Acting President Francisco Sagasti has called on both sides to avoid it declaring victory before the official result was announced, prompting some lawmakers to even propose censoring him for allegedly biasing against Fujimori.
Anna Luisa Burga, 46, a Cajamarca historian from Castillo who now lives in Lima, summed up the mood of many Peruvians who had voted reluctantly in Castillo and now hope the apparent new president-elect will not proven can rise to his new huge responsibilities.
“I didn’t vote for him in the first round, and I wasn’t going to vote for him in the second round, but that wave of racism, classism and discrimination came, and I decided it was important, including for symbolism, to have a president like Castle, ”he told Al Jazeera.
“I still have my doubts and I think it will be very difficult for him. But I just hope its lighting and that it is surrounded by good people ”.