Razor-thin margin as counting nears end in Peru’s presidential election

Presidential candidate Pedro Castillo waves to supporters (Martin Mejia/AP)
Presidential candidate Pedro Castillo waves to supporters (Martin Mejia/AP) (AP)
10:10am, Tue 08 Jun 2021
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

A rural teacher-turned-political novice and the daughter of an imprisoned former president disputed the lead in a tight race for Peru’s presidency in a run-off election as the coronavirus pandemic continues to batter the Andean country.

With 96% of ballots tallied, leftist Pedro Castillo had 50.2% of the vote, while conservative Keiko Fujimori had 49.7%, according to official results.

This is Ms Fujimori’s third run for president, a role her father held in the 1990s.

The difference between the two polarising candidates was just over 87,000 votes.

The figures released by Peru’s elections agency, the National Office of Electoral Processes, included almost all votes cast near the country’s electoral processing centres.

Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori (Guadalupe Pardo/AP) (AP)

The agency was still waiting for the arrival of votes from remote rural areas and abroad.

“No one can say for sure at this point who is going to win,” Fernando Tuesta, a political scientist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and former Peruvian elections chief, told a local radio station.

In 2016, now-former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski defeated Ms Fujimori by just 42,597 votes.

The partial map of votes showed a country split in two.

Mr Castillo overwhelmingly dominated the impoverished rural areas of the Andes and much of the Amazon.

Ms Fujimori was the candidate of the business elite, dominating the capital and other cities on the Pacific coast.

Sign up to our newsletter