Peru’s Pedro Castillo, Keiko Fujimori to face off in presidential runoff

Peru's Pedro Castillo

Presidential candidates Pedro Castillo and Keiko Fujimori will face off in runoff election in Peru, the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) said on Friday.

“In the framework of the 2021 General Elections, the National Office of Electoral Processes managed to process 100 percent of the electoral records for the president and vice presidents,” the agency said in a statement.

According to the ONPE, the two prevailed over a crowded field of candidates in the first round on April 11, with Castillo of the Free Peru party garnering 19.09 percent of the votes, and Fujimori of the Popular Force party becoming the runner-up with 13.36 percent of the votes.

None of the 18 presidential candidates in the elections garnered the minimum 50 percent of the votes required to win the first round outright and forgo a runoff which is scheduled for June 6.

Castillo, a teachers’ union leader, and Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori, represent two very different national plans and models of government.

Political observer Jerjes Loayza described their first- and second-place finish as “unexpected, since we thought the possible scenarios would represent liberal candidates with relatively similar government plans.”

Loayza, a professor from the National University of San Marcos, told Xinhua that several factors, such as the pandemic and inequality in the country, may have played a role in the scenario that these two candidates obtained the most votes in the first round.

Castillo “reflects the demands of a forgotten population that is very tired of presidential repetitions,” said Loayza.

However, Castillo does not represent “the usual left,” since he and his supporters are “a conservative pro-life and pro-family” segment, he added.

Meanwhile, Fujimori, who is “beyond the right,” has name recognition and “a surname that elicits a hard vote, that is, a vote that generates an inevitable pull on a sector of the population that was very well worked by former president Fujimori,” he said.

Whoever wins the June 6 runoff will take office on July 28 for the 2021-2026 term.

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