The international silence that surrounded the first weeks of the electoral count in Peru was broken this week. The European Union and the embassies of its members in the Andean country considered this Thursday that the electoral process on June 6, in which they had to choose between the leftist Pedro Castillo and the right-wing Keiko Fujimori, has been “free and democratic.” “We trust the electoral authorities for the solution of pending litigation within the established legal channels,” reads the statement released on social networks.
The pronouncement comes at a delicate moment. The strength of Peruvian institutions is at stake. Since this week, the electoral court has been monitoring the cancellations requested by Fujimori to avoid the victory of Castillo, who won by 40,000 votes. The process is being delayed and boycotted. A member of the court resigned on Wednesday, something unprecedented in the democratic history of Peru, after the first 10 requests for annulment were rejected. In a previous instance, no indication was found that there had been fraud in the count. Once this supervision is over, the authorities will have to decree a winner. From Fuerza Popular, Fujimori’s party, and conservative sectors that see Castillo as a potential threat are trying to prevent that moment from coming.
Brussels has not been the first to step forward and back the Peruvian electoral body, which in practice means smashing Fujimori’s tactic. Since a quick count gave Castillo the winner by a very small percentage, just 0.3%, the candidate has argued that in several tables in the sierra, the rural area of the country where Castillo has received massive support, there was a fraud. Neither international observers nor the country’s main pollster, Ipsos, noticed any anomalies. The United States, on Tuesday, congratulated Peru for holding elections that it considered a “model of democracy in the region.” In a statement, the US State Department spokesman, Ned Price, also described these elections as “free, fair, accessible and peaceful” and supported that the authorities take the time necessary to “publish the results in accordance with Peruvian law. ”.
By now the process should be finished. The winner will take office on July 28, in theory. He will replace an interim president, Francisco Sagasti, who has led the country to the end of a tumultuous legislature. There have been four different presidents in five years. Fujimori’s party has obstructed the initiatives of Congress at that time, believing and trying to make the rest believe that they had stolen the victory. The candidate promised in this last campaign not to hinder the country’s governance again and even signed a democratic commitment to ensure that it would be the case, but when the time comes, she has stretched the deadlines to the maximum to delay the proclamation of a winner, which will presumably be your rival.
Meanwhile, tension continues in a wounded country. The campaign has been very tough. Dialectical confrontations between supporters of one or the other have been constant. Castillo campaigned with a speech against the elites and the market that has put businessmen and the most conservative sectors on guard. That part of the country supported Fujimori in a massive way – more against Castillo than out of fervor for Fujimorism – and it is manifesting itself in the streets these days. “No to fraud” is their motto.
A lawyer who has joined the requests for the annulment of tables, Lourdes Flores, suggested that President Sagasti ask the OAS for an audit like the one he recently carried out in Bolivia. Shortly thereafter, the observer mission issued a statement informing that it was still pending the electoral process in Peru, that it was abiding by the law, and that it would continue in office until the results were announced.
“The Mission (of OAS observers) has been able to verify that said procedures have been carried out in accordance with the law and regulations in force, and welcomes that the Peruvian system has the guarantees of due process,” the organization said in a statement. . He described as “unusual” the resignation of magistrate Luis Arce Córdova to the plenary session of the National Elections Jury “at such a delicate moment.”
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