Fujimori clings to Peru fraud allegation as vote count nears end
Published on: Amended:
Right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori on Saturday insisted the Peruvian presidential election was marred by fraud, as the final vote tally lagged with her left-wing rival slightly ahead.
“There has been fraud in the voting process. There has been manipulation in the voting process,” Fujimori said during a briefing with foreign journalists without providing evidence, as his chances of becoming president appeared to shrink, six days after politically turbulent people in Peru voted. .
She alleged that there was also fraud in the counting of the votes.
“I will recognize the results but we have to wait until the end,” said Fujimori.
She says the irregularities in the vote count favored her left-wing rival Pedro Castillo, who is ahead by 51,000 votes, with 99.88% of the votes counted.
Fujimori risks an imminent corruption trial if she loses to Castillo, who has already emerged as the winner.
Political commentators here say that with Castillo seemingly on the verge of winning, Fujimori is trying to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election so as not to look like the loser and save her political image.
“She clings to the charge of fraud because if she doesn’t, everything she’s accomplished falls apart. It’s her way of avoiding failure and collapse,” said Hugo Otero, who advised former president Alan Garcia.
Fujimori asked the election authorities to overturn around 200,000 votes. The national electoral council announced on Friday a two-day extension of the deadline for contesting the results of the vote, then backtracked thereafter.
An Organization of American States election observation mission questioned Fujimori’s rigging allegations on Friday.
But he called on authorities to wait until the vote challenges have been resolved before calling a winner.
“The mission did not detect any serious irregularities,” the OAS mission said.
– Three presidents in one week –
Peruvians voted last Sunday for their fifth president in three years after a series of crises and corruption scandals that saw three different leaders in power in a single week last November, the latest being the country’s interim leader Francisco Sagasti .
Seven of the country’s last ten leaders have been convicted or are under investigation for corruption.
As in the three previous presidential elections in Peru, the end of the counting of the votes has been slow due to delays in the delivery of ballots from rural and jungle areas, and from abroad – where one million of the 25 live. million eligible voters in the country.
Whoever wins will lead a nation battered by recession and the world’s highest coronavirus death rate, with more than 187,000 deaths among its 33 million people.
Two million Peruvians lost their jobs during the pandemic and nearly a third now live in poverty, official figures show.
During the election campaign, Castillo said Peru’s mineral, oil and gas resources “must be nationalized” as he pledged to raise taxes and increase state regulation.
Free market defender Fujimori sought to portray Castillo as a communist who would turn Peru into a new Venezuela or a new North Korea.
© 2021 AFP