UN rights chief urges “calm” while Peru still awaits voting results | Election News


Pedro Castillo, aspiring to the presidency of the left, hoped to win, but no official results have been announced yet.

The head of human rights at the United Nations has urged Peruvians to “keep calm” as the official results of a deeply polarized the presidential runoff has not yet been released, more than a week after the vote in the entire Andean nation.

In a statement Monday, Michelle Bachelet said she was “concerned that what should be a celebration of democracy is becoming a source of division, which in turn widens the fracture of Peruvian society with negative implications for human rights”.

He also expressed concern about the harassment of election officials.

“If the norms of democracy are not accepted before, during and after elections, social cohesion can be dangerously broken,” said Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights.

Millions of Peruvians headed to the polls on June 6th choose between left-wing teachers union leader Pedro Castillo and right-wing Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori.

The elections took place amid deep political divisions in Peru, which is struggling to cope with the rise COVID-19 infections and deaths, as well as an economic recession related to the pandemic.

Castillo is expected to be declared the winner; with almost all the ballots counted, he had 50.14 percent support and a narrow lead of less than 50,000 votes over Fujimori.

He has denounced fraud, without providing evidence to support his claims, and has been trying to annul many of the votes.

International observers have said the election was held without any serious irregularities.

It is still unclear when the country’s electoral body will formally announce the winner, although Castillo has called for the count to end quickly to end the uncertainty.

But the Jury of the National Elections of Peru (JNE), which resolves the disputes and proclaims the winner, is reviewing the challenges to tens of thousands of votes cast in 165 polling stations across the country, 151 of them contested by Fujimori the 14 for Castillo. This process can take several days.

Meanwhile, Peruvians are eagerly waiting to see who will be the country’s next president, taking over at a time of deep political divisions ia coronavirus crisis.

Supporters of Peru’s presidential candidate, Keiko Fujimori, gather during a rally in Lima on June 12 [Sebastian Castaneda/Reuters]

Magaly Roca, who was listening to a radio program about counting votes at her corner store in Lima, the capital, said she had voted for Castillo in the second round, even though she was not initially her favorite candidate.

“He’s been putting up too many obstacles,” Roca told Reuters news agency, referring to Fujimori. “The whole time he had a majority in Congress blocked everything. She’s the reason we haven’t moved forward before. I don’t consider it capable of governing. “

Carlos Gurmendi, who works as a doorman in a residential neighborhood, said he had voted reluctantly in Fujimori. “I voted for the lesser of the two evils,” the 66-year-old said.

Last week, in Lima, marches of supporters of the two candidates erupted, with some voters in favor of Castillo arriving in the capital from rural areas to protest and Fujimori supporters supporting his allegations of fraud.

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