Society

Peru's leftist Pedro Castillo slightly overtakes Fujimori with 99% of votes counted

Keiko Fujimori announced that her party has asked for the annulment of 802 validated ballot boxes throughout the country under allegations of fraud

Peru's presidential candidate Pedro Castillo addresses supporters, in Tacabamba, Peru June 6, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Alessandro Cinque/File Photo
  • Peru’s congress has relished clashing with the presidency in the past;
  • Peru presidential front-runner said on Monday he would respect the autonomy of the Andean nation’s central bank if he wins the presidency.

The counting of the presidential elections in Peru is almost complete, with 99% of the votes counted. Socialist Pedro Castillo maintains a lead with 0.4%.

Peru’s market and mining watchers are wary of a presidential election victory for Castillo, who is building a narrow lead. Castillo has rattled miners and investors since a surprise win in the first-round vote in April, pledging to tear up Peru’s decades-old constitution and take up to 70% of profits from firms mining in the country’s copper-rich Andes.

“The only positive factor – even if Castillo wins – is that the result of the election shows you that the country is very divided,” said Guillaume Tresca, senior emerging market strategist at Generali Asset Management.

“And with a divided congress it will be very hard for him to implement structural and disruptive reforms.”

Peru’s congress has relished clashing with the presidency in the past. Last year, it pushed through a controversial impeachment process against then-President Martin Vizcarra that forced him to step down and sparked deadly protests.

READ ALSO: Peru could face capital flight if Castillo clinches presidency – JPMorgan

Peru presidential front-runner said on Monday he would respect the autonomy of the Andean nation’s central bank if he wins the presidency, a move aimed at soothing mounting market anxiety over the leftist’s growing lead in vote counting.

Castillo said in a statement his economic plan would respect the market economy that has helped drive fast growth in the world’s No.2 copper producer over the past decade.

“We reiterate that we have not considered nationalization, expropriation, confiscation of savings, exchange controls, price controls or import prohibitions in our economic plan,” Castillo’s campaign said.

Castillo ruled out the most extreme measures in his statement Monday but said the funds needed to guarantee healthcare and education for Peruvians would nonetheless be “based on tax reforms to mining.”

READ ALSO: Elections in Peru: The crossroads between the unknown cowboy and the dictator’s daughter

‘Stop the count’?

According to El Comercio, there are still about 700 ballot boxes under analysis by the electoral courts, as Castillo’s conservative rival candidate Keiko Fujimori announced that her party has asked for the annulment of 802 validated ballot boxes throughout the country under allegations of fraud. They represent about 200,000 votes.

READ ALSO: Political risk haunts Latin America investors as Peru election nears

Keiko Fujimori’s supporters protested against Pedro Castillo’s victory. As reported by O Globo, in Brazil, during a church service, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro stated “we have lost Peru.”

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