• Michael Laxer

Castillo on the verge in Peru

With 99.8% of the vote counted Leftist candidate Pedro Castillo appears to have won the election

Pedro Castillo celebrates in Peru -- photo via twitter


In a political shift of seismic proportions both for the country and the region, leftist Pedro Castillo appears to have won the presidential election in Peru though his opponent is now using the far right/Trump playbook to try to overturn the results.


With 99.8% of ballots counted, Castillo has a lead of in excess of 70,000 votes over hard right candidate Keiko Fujimori. This lead seems to be insurmountable.





Unfortunately, this does not mean Castillo is sure to become president.


As she did baselessly in 2016 -- and imitating Donald Trump and the right in Bolivia after the 2019 elections -- Fujimori is claiming that the election was somehow rigged by Castillo who has no government or institutional power of any kind and is a total political outsider. Meanwhile, Fujimori is the candidate of Peru's business and political elites and the daughter of a former president who is in jail for corruption.


The Spanish newspaper El País notes that:


Fujimori has denounced fraud in the electoral process linked to Castillo’s party members challenging some tallies in areas where she has taken more votes, but her claims are supported neither by independent domestic nor international observers. She has also failed to present solid evidence for these claims. The daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori is standing in a Peruvian run-off election for the third time, after losing in 2011 and 2016. She made similar fraud claims in 2016 when she lost to Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

This is the very dangerous new/old right playbook all too often backed by western liberals and social democrats when it is not happening to them. If they lose an election turns they claim fraud and stick with this narrative relentlessly regardless of any evidence to the contrary.


Fujimori's claims and legal challenges could drag on for days allowing for other attempts to delegitimize the democratic results.


In the case of Peru it is very likely the Trudeau government will back claims of irregularities if they start getting any traction -- however absurd -- as Canadian corporations have major mining interests in the country and Castillo has pledged to leave the Canadian pet imperialist project the Lima Group.


We must remain vigilant in solidarity with the Peruvian people. As Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and now even Mexico have shown, the song always remains the same. Leftists in solidarity with people's movements and governments need to fight to change the tune.





Further readings:


Pedro Castillo Can Help End Neoliberalism in Peru (jacobinmag.com)


Peru’s Pedro Castillo represents a challenge to the Canadian mining industry – Canadian Dimension




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