Peruvian presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori reiterated her allegation of irregularities in Sunday’s election as she narrowly lags her opponent with the vote count nearing its end.
With 99% of votes tallied, Fujimori has 49.8% while her rival Pedro Castillo has 50.2%, or a 70,000-vote lead. Fujimori has the overwhelming support of investors and the business community, while Castillo is more popular among the poor, particularly in rural districts. Fujimori was counting on overseas votes, counted late, to turn the tide in her favor but those votes were offset by votes for Castillo in the inter-Andean valleys
She is asking for the nullification of 200,000 votes and a review another 300,000.
“Five hundred thousand votes are still at stake here, half a million votes nationwide, that we believe are essential to be analyzed for the elections jury’s final count,” she said in a statement.
Members of Peru’s election council say that Fujimori has so far provided no information suggesting problems with the 500,000 votes she questions. “We cannot begin an investigation without strong evidence of voting irregularities,” said an unnamed member of the council. “To this point, her charges sound very much like those of Donald Trump when he lost in the U.S. election.”
A senior official in President Joe Biden’s administration said the U.S. hasn’t seen evidence of fraud, only isolated incidents of voter intimidation. If there is a free and fair election, “we work with governments of left, center, right, whoever it is,” said the official, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. “We engage with them, find ways to work with them.”
On Wednesday, Castillo signaled that he won the vote and is making preparations to assume office. He represents the Marxist Peru Libre party, but in recent weeks has tried to reassure investors and voters that he doesn’t want to overhaul the nation’s economic model.
The stakes of losing are high for Fujimori as she is under investigation in at least two corruption cases and could go to jail if convicted. If she wins, she would enjoy immunity during her time in office.