Peru’s National Office of Electoral Processes said Monday that Pedro Castillo is the winner of Peru’s presidential runoff election. With 100 percent of votes counted, Castillo defeated conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori by 50.12 percent to 49.87 percent, or 44,000 votes.
Although Fujimori continues to claim that 800,000 votes are “irregular or fraudulent”, the National Elections Jury, the highest electoral review board, has rejected the majority of her complaints, leaving less than 100,000 votes to be reviewed. Officially, the election council cannot officially declare Castillo the victor until all votes are reviewed.
Electoral observers, including the Organization of American States, have said they have found no irregularities. Castillo’s Free Peru party has also rejected accusations of fraud.
More than 18.8 million Peruvians cast their votes in this year’s race — a turnout of nearly 75% of the eligible population. Observers have said it could take days to deliberate over Fujimori’s legal challenges.
Castillo declared victory following the election council’s release of final numbers on Monday. “Today should not only be one of hullabaloo and joy, but of great responsibility,” he told supporters in Lima. “Now, the real battle begins to end the great inequalities here in our homeland.” He also called on election authorities to call the race and “respect the popular will”.
Meanwhile Fujimori, who is running for president for a third time, acknowledged the release of the count, but said it was important to wait for the results from the pending investigations. “We trust the authorities, yes, but, above all, we trust the popular will,” she said. Fujimori is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is in jail serving a 25-year sentence for crimes including corruption and human rights abuses and, she herself, is being investigated for alleged corruption and money laundering. She spent a total of 13 months in jail between 2018 and 2020, when she was released on parole.
Last week, in a surprise development, a prosecutor requested that Ms Fujimori be returned to pre-trial custody, alleging that she had been in contact with a witness, violating the terms of her parole.