Castillo declared president-elect in Peru

·2-min read

Peru's electoral authority has named socialist Pedro Castillo as the country's next president, having officially won the June 6 run-off against right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, who accepted the result but said she had been cheated.

Castillo won by just 44,000 votes. The official result had been delayed by appeals from Fujimori aimed at annulling some ballots over fraud accusations.

Fujimori said she was nonetheless bound by law to recognise the ruling of the National Jury of Elections.

"I proclaim Pedro Castillo as president of the republic and Dina Boluarte as first vice-president," elections chief Jorge Salas said during a televised ceremony on Monday night.

Earlier in the day, Fujimori said she would recognise the official result "because it is what the law and the constitution that I have sworn to defend, mandates. The truth is going to come out anyway."

"They have stolen thousands of votes from us," Fujimori, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, told a news conference. She called on her followers to protest.

"We have the right to mobilise ... but in a peaceful manner and within the framework of the law," she said.

The run-off resulted in the country's longest electoral count in 40 years. The Organization of American States, the European Union and Britain have said the election was clean.

Castillo, in his first comments as president-elect, called for national unity. "I ask for effort and sacrifice in the struggle to make this a just and sovereign country," he said.

The economy of Peru has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic, increasing the poverty level to almost one-third of the population and eliminating the gains of a decade.

A 51-year-old former school teacher and the son of peasant farmers, Castillo has pledged to redraft the constitution and hike taxes on mining firms. Peru is the world's second-largest copper-producing nation.

Wielding a pencil the size of a cane, symbol of his Peru Libre party, Castillo popularised the phrase "No more poor in a rich country".

But he has softened his rhetoric in recent weeks and hinted at a more moderate, market-friendly approach.

Castillo said on Monday he would work toward economic stability.

"I ask that Keiko Fujimori not place barriers in the way, so that we may move forward and make this a government of all Peruvians," he said.

with AP

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