Peruvian left-wing presidential candidate Pedro Castillo took a very small but growing lead on Monday over right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori, but the results of the highly polarized survey stay too close to calling.
With more than 95 percent of the vote counted, Castillo advanced ahead of Fujimori with 50.2 percent support over his 49.8 percent.
Sunday’s second round came amid years of political instability in Peru, which is also struggling to cope. increasing COVID-19 infection and mortality rates and a related economic crisis. The country last week reported the highest coronavirus per capita mortality rate in the world.
“We won’t know (the winner) until the last vote is counted,” political scientist Jessica Smith told AFP news agency. “It’s still very uncertain: the difference is too intense and we have to wait for the official result.”
As uncertainty about who would be the country’s next president rose on Monday, the Lima stock market fell and the sun fell to a record low of 3.92 against the US dollar.
The near result could take days of uncertainty and tension, as the vote also underscores a strong divide between the capital, Lima, and the nation’s rural hinterland that has driven Castillo’s unexpected boom.
“Everything we want right now is democracy, let everything be democratic. Let the one who wins, the other accept it and not start any problem “, said Lili Rocha, voting in Lima, to the Reuters news agency after having erupted some fights during the night.
According to Lima reports on Monday, Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sanchez said that while the vote was still too close to the call, Castillo appeared to extend his lead over Fujimori.
“It will be won by very few votes,” Sanchez said of the contest, explaining that ballots from abroad can be key. “At first, it was said that two-thirds of those votes were going to help Fujimori, but so far the trend abroad is that one-third of those votes are in favor of Keiko Fujimori and two-thirds Castillo,” he said. . .
Rural votes will also be very important, Sanchez added, and will “certainly help” Castillo because he campaigned extensively in those parts of the country.
Meanwhile, supporters of Castillo, a teachers’ union leader, have been concentrating outside their headquarters in Lima all day Monday. “People here have a celebratory mood, as you can imagine, because the numbers continue to give them leadership,” Sanchez said.
Monday was the first time the official partial results began to be published on Sunday late in the day that Castillo had advanced, although the difference was small.
When Fujimori, the daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, was in charge, the head of Peru’s highest electoral body warned that many polling stations in rural areas, the Castillo fortress, were not yet to be counted.
Both candidates have vowed to respect the results.
Fujimori, who faces allegations of corruption that he has denied, has pledged to maintain economic stability in Peru with “a mother’s firm hand.” If he wins, he is expected to succeed forgive your father, who is now serving a prison sentence for abuse of rights.
Champion of the poor, Castillo has pledged to draft the constitution to strengthen the role of the state and get a bigger share of the profits of mining companies.
Many Peruvians had it expressed frustration with the country’s political turmoil ahead of the first round of voting in April.
Street vendor Natalia Flores told Reuters she had not voted for either candidate on Sunday, but hoped whoever won would do a good job.
“Anyone who comes forward, I think will have to do a good job because in Peru the issue of the pandemic is terrible for us financially. The work is unstable, “he said.” Either Mr. Castillo or Mrs. Keiko (Fujimori), I hope they do a good job for the next five years. “