Leftist school teacher Pedro Castillo was proclaimed Peru’s president-elect Monday, six weeks after a polarizing vote of which the results were delayed by claims of electoral fraud from his right-wing rival, Keiko Fujimori.
The 51-year-old trade unionist’s victory leaves Fujimori facing an imminent corruption trial.
On behalf of my family I would like to salute the electoral authorities… and also to salute the political parties that have taken part in this democratic celebration,” Castillo told hundreds of supporters gathered at the headquarters of his Peru Libre (Free Peru) party in Lima.
“Dear compatriots, I bring here an open heart for each and every one of you,” he declared from the balcony after Jorge Luis Salas, head of the JNE elections jury, announced Castillo’s victory in a brief virtual ceremony
A crowd of hundreds that had spent weeks outside the JNE headquarters to support Castillo broke out in celebration at the news.
“Finally, we have a president,” said Rosa Huaman, a 27-year-old Castillo supporter among the crowd, which chanted: “Yes it can!”
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The JNE validated the vote count by the ONPE elections body, which gave Castillo 50.12 percent of the ballots cast, some 44,000 more than Fujimori, who pledged earlier Monday to recognize the result “because it is required by the law and the constitution that I have sworn to defend.”
Fujimori had claimed fraud despite observers from the Organization of American States, the United States and European Union declaring the vote free and fair.
– Nationalization, crime –
Prosecutors have said they would seek a 30-year jail term for Fujimori on charges of taking money from scandal-tainted Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht to fund failed presidential bids in 2011 and 2016