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What is happening with the election in Peru?

A highly controversial presidential election in Peru took place back in April. It caused a runoff (a special election when no candidate in the first election meets the required threshold for victory). The runoff happened on June 6. The vote counting was completed on June 15. Yet, as of July 1, there is no declared winner.

Who were the two candidates in the runoff election? 

They were two extremely different candidates, in what has been one of the most polarising elections in the country’s history. They each have entirely different visions for Peru.  

Pedro Castillo = A left-wing candidate who is part of the Free Peru National Political Party and a former school teacher.

Keiko Fujimori = A right-wing candidate who is part of a party called Popular Force (her father was previously President of Peru, who is now in jail). 

What was the result of the runoff? 

With all of the votes tallied, Castillo recorded 50.125 percent of the votes and Fujimori 49.875 percent, giving Castillo 0.25 percentage points over Fujimori. 

Why is there still no winner? 

The National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) is the body in charge of the counting of votes in the election process. However, that body is only in charge of the counting process, not declaring a winner. There is a separate body – National Elections Jury (JNE) – that is in charge of declaring a winner. The JNE has stated that it will not declare a winner until it has reviewed all the voting records that have been contested and ruled on requests to have votes repealed. 

Both parties have called for the validity of a portion of the votes to be reviewed, however most of the calls have come from Fujimori. She is alleging widespread fraud throughout the election, asking to annul up to 200,000 votes. She has been criticised for failing to provide evidence of the fraud she is alleging. Fujimori has accused Castillo’s Free Peru of “stealing votes”, which it has denied.

Castillo claimed victory in the most 21st century way possible — by changing his Twitter profile to “president-elect”. However, Fujimori has yet to concede and it does not look like she will be any time soon. She’s told her supporters that she will “defend Peru’s democracy”. Recently, protesters have taken to the streets, showing support for their chosen candidate. 

Peruvian courts are still considering a number of lawsuits on the validity of votes – as such, it remains unclear as to when an ‘official’ winner will be crowned.

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