Castillo maintains slight lead in Peru balloting over Fujimori

(Prena Latina) Candidate Pedro Castillo maintains today a slight lead over Keiko Fujimori in the official count of the ballot in Peru, with oscillations due to the arrival of voting records of emigrants and rural populations.

At midday, constant reports from the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) reported that the leftist candidate had 50.205 percent of the votes, while Fujimori had 49.795 percent. The difference in favor of Castillo, translated into votes, amounts to 70,197, with 8,615,701 for the rural teacher and 8,545,504 for his rival.

Meanwhile ‘Fuerza Popular,’ (Popular Force) a pro-Fujimori party, is pinning its hopes on reversing the figures on the hegemony it has among Peruvians living abroad, Castillo’s Peru Libre has a majority in rural areas.

Taking into account that the ONPE counts the votes as they arrive, and that up to on Tuesday, the votes from the United States and other countries have arrived with a majority of votes for Fujimori, it is foreseeable that the distance will be shortened.

The panorama encourages those who predict a narrower difference in the final outcome although other projections point to Castillo maintaining and even surpassing his current advantage.

Meanwhile, analysts such as the influential journalist Cesar Hildebrandt considered that the inconsistent Fujimorist accusations to Pere Libre party of ‘indications of fraud’ are due to the perception of a defeat of the candidate, an outcome he considers predictable.

Although the vote count has reached 96,146 percent of the tallies counted, no one is in a position to estimate when the official results of the election will be given.

The observed or questioned tally sheets will have to be submitted to the National Jury of Elections (JNE), which may cause delays, although if in the unlikely situation that the difference of votes between the contenders is greater than those pending to be counted, that court may proclaim the winner.

The Fujimorist accusations, the object of generalized criticism, increased the prevailing tension due to the impatience of the waiting and the fears of Peru Libre about a possible concealment of what they consider to be their victory.

Castillo rejected Fujimori’s accusations and asked for patience and tranquility to his followers although he also told them to remain alert and assured that he will be the first to make the will of the people be respected.

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