Presidential election in Peru: no “serious” irregularities according to the Organization of American States

The second round of the presidential election in Peru, between Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Castillo, was a “positive electoral process” in which “serious irregularities” were not detected, the observation mission said on Friday. election of the Organization of American States.

The Election Observation Mission of the Organization of American States (OAS) said on Friday (June 11th) that it had not noted “serious irregularities” in the presidential election in  Peru , described as “positive”, while the authorities have undertook the examination of tens of thousands of ballots disputed by the candidate of the populist right Keiko Fujimori, given beaten by 60,000 votes according to the latest count.

“The mission did not detect any serious irregularities”, indicates the preliminary report of the mission which welcomes a “positive electoral process, in which substantial improvements were recorded between the first and the second round”.

In the absence of an official result, tension is mounting in the Andean country, five days after the second round, and the interim president, Francisco Sagasti, on Friday launched an appeal for “calm” to the actors of both camps.

“Complex and difficult” period

Francisco Sagasti, who will complete his interim on July 28, said the country, known for its institutional instability and which is waiting to know its fifth president in three years, was going through a “polarized, complex and difficult” period.

At the last count Friday, the candidate of the radical left, Pedro Castillo, 51, is still in the lead with 50.17% of the ballots, against 49.83% for Ms. Fujimori, a difference of some 60,000 votes.

But the latter disputes this advance and asked, Wednesday, the invalidation of about 200,000 ballots, from 802 polling stations. She had denounced “irregularities”, “indications of fraud” and “a clear intention to sabotage the will of the people”.

The President of the National Election Jury (JNE), Jorge Luis Salas, said he was surprised at Fujimori’s request to invalidate the results in more than 800 polling stations. He recalled that during the last election in 2016, where she lost some 40,000 votes, “only 29 polling stations had been called into question”.

The JNE’s review of the bulletins is expected to take several days.

The supporters of both camps remain on their guard, hoping for a happy outcome for their champion, and have gathered, without incident, at separate points in the capital.

Warning from native chiefs

Representatives of indigenous communities, however, warned that they would march, if necessary, on Lima to defend their votes in favor of Castillo, after Ms. Fujimori’s demand to cancel the results of 802 polling stations in rural areas.

A defeat would deprive the leader of the Fuerza popular party, created by her father, ex-president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), of presidential immunity when new threats of imprisonment weigh on her.

At the beginning of March, thirty years in prison were required against him as part of the investigation into the Odebrecht scandal, named after the Brazilian construction giant who admitted to having paid bribes to many Latin American leaders. .

Thursday, the prosecutor in charge of the case, José Domingo Pérez, also demanded that the conditional freedom enjoyed by the candidate since May 2020 be “revoked”, accusing her of not respecting “the restrictions on communication with witnesses “to the case.

Keiko Fujimori, 46, has already spent 16 months in pre-trial detention in this case for illicit financing of his past presidential campaigns.

“There is no fear that this (request for) preventive prison will materialize,” she assured Thursday, however.

Pedro Castillo, who hopes to give his opponent another setback in the second round after those of 2011 and 2016, called on his supporters “not to fall into provocation”.

This teacher from a rural municipality and trade unionist has already recorded the congratulations of the Argentine and Bolivian presidents Alberto Fernandez and Luis Arce, the vice-president of Nicaragua, Rosario Murillo, as well as former left-wing leaders, Brazilians Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Ecuadorian Rafael Correa and Bolivian Evo Morales.

Congratulations which, in the absence of an official result, aroused the ire of the Peruvian government which “handed over a note of protest to the ambassadors of the countries concerned”, according to a statement from the Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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