Peru election balanced as ballot box gives Fujimori slim lead
Conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori is slightly ahead of his socialist rival Pedro Castillo in the second round of the presidential election in Peru, according to an Ipsos exit poll published on Sunday evening.
Statistical equality had Fujimori in the lead with 50.3% of the vote, while Castillo had 49.7%, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, according to the poll.
The results do not include foreign voters, who election officials said could be critical in rocking the results.
Polling stations closed the elections at 7:00 p.m. (0000 GMT). A quick count by Ipsos is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. (02:30 GMT Monday), with the first official results expected to start arriving at 11:30 p.m. (04:30 GMT).
Millions of people voted on Sunday to choose between two candidates espousing opposing ideologies in a tight runoff that deeply divided voters across class and geographic boundaries.
Opinion polls up to election day showed a statistical deadlock, with Fujimori, who had previously followed leftist Pedro Castillo, shooting slightly in the lead at the end of the campaign.
The two have promised very different remedies to save Peru from the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Fujimori, 46, the daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori, has pledged to follow the free market model and maintain the economic stability of the world’s second-largest copper producer.
Castillo, 51, a teacher, union leader and son of peasants, has vowed to overhaul the country’s constitution to strengthen the role of the state, take more of the profits from mining companies and nationalize key industries.
But with neither candidate clearly having a lead in the polls, hints of possible electoral challenges on both sides and a deep mistrust of the political class generated by decades of corruption and instability could pose problems afterwards. the elections.
While voting on Sunday afternoon in the Lima district of Surco, Fujimori noted a handful of allegations of forged ballots discovered in the capital and inside the country.
“We know that there have been incidents today. We hope that the electoral bodies will take action in the matter and that sanctions will be imposed accordingly,” she said. “I also expect our party officials to be on their guard.”
She praised the “grandmothers and grandfathers” who voted amid a second wave of COVID-19 hitting the country and a slow start to the vaccination campaign.
Castillo voted earlier today in his rural heartland of northern Peruvian Andes, accompanied by a crowd of supporters chanting: “Yes we can!
He had previously warned of election fraud and said he would be “the first to summon the people” if he saw evidence of foul play.
But he told crowds on Sunday he would respect the result and hope Peruvians unite behind the successful candidate.
“If we don’t unite, we won’t be able to move the country forward,” Castillo said.
“FOR THE GOOD OF ALL PERUVIANS”
In Lima, voters traveled to polling stations by bicycle, roller skates and on foot to avoid the long traffic jams that accumulated throughout the day.
Among those who voted in Lima was Luis Pizango, who said that for him “transparency” was the key to a successful election.
“May Peru win for the good of all Peruvians,” he said.
In polls, urban and high-income citizens have indicated a preference for Fujimori, while the rural poor largely support Castillo.
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