Peruvian socialist candidate Pedro Castillo claimed victory in the presidential election on Tuesday after clinging on to a narrow lead as the lengthy vote count ended, although his right-wing rival pledged to fight the result and has yet to concede.
Castillo ended the count 44,058 votes ahead of Keiko Fujimori, who has made allegations of fraud with little proof and has tried to get some votes annulled. The result of the June 6 ballot has not been formally announced by electoral authorities, but Castillo hailed the win on Twitter.
“A new time has begun,” Castillo wrote, alongside a picture of himself with arms raised, the word ‘President’ in large font and his campaign slogan: “No more poor in a rich country.”
He also updated his Twitter profile to include “President-elect of the Republic of Peru (2021-2026).”
The abrupt rise of the 51-year-old former teacher has rattled Peru’s political and business elite and could have a major impact on the vital mining industry in the world’s No.2 copper producer, with Castillo planning sharp tax hikes on the sector.
Fujimori, addressing supporters at a rally in downtown Lima on Tuesday, pledged to keep fighting and “defend Peru’s democracy.” She hoped the result would swing her way once ballots that her party is seeking to annul had been checked.
“Today a result has come out, yes, a result from the ONPE (electoral body) count, but the most important thing is the evaluation of the ballot boxes,” she said. “We trust the authorities yes, but we trust more in the popular will.”
Castillo’s Free Peru party has rejected accusations of fraud and international observers in Lima have stated that the elections were transparent.