- BBC News World
Peru decided this Sunday between the leftist Pedro Castillo and the rightist Keiko Fujimori in a polarized vote for the presidency that is expected to be very tight.
The country is deeply divided between two opposing candidates amid a triple crisis: health, economic and political.
The most polarized elections in decades in the country follow a political storm that led to four presidents in five years, protests and multiple allegations of corruption against politicians. All this in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has Peru as the country in the world with the most deaths per capita.
In recent weeks Fujimori was cutting the disadvantage with respect to Castillo, according to polls, which indicate a situation of technical tie.
A reflection of the tightness of the result is the Ipsos Peru exit poll published at the close of the day, which gave Fujimori a slight advantage of 50.3% vs. 49.7% from Castillo.
Castillo, a 51-year-old primary school teacher who proposes to rewrite the Constitution of Peru to strengthen the role of the State in the economy, has become the surprise of the election and his rise generates uncertainty for investors and the country’s wealthiest elites miner.
He has positioned himself as the people’s candidate at a time when the pandemic has exacerbated inequalities in a country that has not made everyone participate in the good macroeconomic moment in recent years that it enjoyed before the pandemic.
Fujimori, 46, eldest daughter of the imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori, promises to maintain the free market model in her third attempt to come to power and become the first female president of Peru.
Fujimori has a tax accusation of “money laundering” for alleged irregular contributions during previous presidential campaigns that she denies. If you win, the case could be stopped.
The election comes at a time when the coronavirus has overwhelmed hospitals with shortages of medical supplies and equipment. A few days ago the government revised the death toll from the virus to 180,764, the highest death rate in the world per total population.
Peru also went through one of its worst crises in November 2020 with three presidents in a week and strong protests that left two dead, after a severe clash between Congress and the Government.
Pollsters say undecided voters and Peruvians living abroad could define the election.
Peruvians abroad make up almost 4% of the 25 million of the electoral roll. Only 0.8% voted in the first round in April.
An electoral result that is too narrow could be questioned by both candidates, according to analysts. In the 2016 election, Fujimori lost by just 0.24% of the vote to Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.