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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Castillo wins vote in Peru as Fujimori refuses to concede

Leftist Pedro Castillo has won the presidential election in Peru by 44,058 votes. But many fear that far-right candidate Fujimori may succeed in pulling off what Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, and Vijay Prashad termed a "lawfare coup". Latest updates.

Castillo and supporters celebrate his win on the night of July 15 - photo via Twitter

With all of the votes now counted by the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), leftist Pedro Castillo has won the presidential election in Peru. Castillo is 44,058 votes ahead of far right candidate Keiko Fujimori. But far from conceding defeat Fujimori is taking a page from the Trump playbook and has launched a series of legal challenges in hopes of overturning the results.

Despite a lack of evidence many fear that Fujimori may succeed in pulling off what Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters, and Vijay Prashad termed a "lawfare coup". Castillo's victory is not yet certain as, in spite of the vote tally, the National Jury of Elections (JNE) has not yet officially proclaimed him president-elect.

As Matt Kirkegaard, head of the Progressive International’s electoral observer delegation to Peru, noted:

As leftists outside Peru, we must stand in solidarity with the people’s struggle to realise their democratic will against a vicious ruling class that will not easily cede centre stage. But even after Castillo takes up residence in the Palacio del Gobierno in July, we must keep up our support. Time and time again across Latin America, reactionaries have been undaunted in the drive for power. From Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, to Rafael Correa in Ecuador, to Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, to Evo Morales in Bolivia, an internationally coordinated right has honed its tactics in lawfare to decapitate popular movements and their elected leaders. Time after time we have watched the havoc they have wrought. They are certainly trying again in Peru.

Further readings:

Far-right presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori has reiterated that she will not concede defeat, even after the electoral authorities announced that 100% had been counted, granting victory to leftist candidate Pedro Castillo.

While Fujimori may have little hope of changing any outcome, it may yet be possible to try to provoke a constitutional crisis if Castillo is not recognised by the time of inauguration day — the very same strategy pursued by Donald Trump earlier this year.

Assuming these efforts are doomed to failure, especially after the armed forces issued official statements promising non-intervention, her machinations now advance a new objective: cast doubt over Castillo’s legitimacy. The more she can weaken his mandate in the court of public opinion through endless lawsuits, rallies, and manufactured doubt, the easier he will be to oust via parliamentary or judicial coup — not a rare occurrence in Latin America. And all the while, Fujimori reframes herself not as a three-time losing candidate under criminal indictment, but as a martyr stoically marching to prison in a last stand against an ascendant left. Both serve to weaken Castillo’s mandate and blunt the real story of a new ‘pink tide’ rolling over Latin America. She may not win, but she can torpedo Castillo’s project by exacting maximum friction and doubt, which is enough for capital and the ruling class (who play a patient long game).

Ordinary Peruvians are vigorously standing up to Fujimori’s attacks, however. Report after report is showing that voters reject Fujimori’s claims of signature forgery and fraud, speaking out against the false accusations against them. Progressive social forces – including the formidable autonomous peasant organisations of the Central Única Nacional de Rondas Campesinas del Perú (CUNARC-P) – are mobilising in the streets, demanding Peru’s institutions respect their vote while forging a common front against any possible coup attempt. In the wake of last year’s parliamentary coup against former president Martín Vizcarra, the people have already demonstrated their ability to successfully confront abuses of power.

On June 6, 2021, the Peruvian people voted for their next president. A few days later, the Peruvian Electoral Authority (ONPE) announced that of the 99.935% votes counted, Pedro Castillo (Perú Libre) prevailed by 50.14% to 49.86% over Keiko Fujimori (Fuerza Popular). However, no official winner has been named because Fujimori has tied up the process in malicious lawsuits.

Fujimori, the candidate of the Right, refuses to concede. Her defenders, including former presidential candidate, Mario Vargas Llosa, have openly disparaged Peruvian citizens, especially the rural base of Perú Libre. Their racist comments and their money power over the courts threatens the integrity of the 2021 presidential elections.

We stand with the people of Peru and against the lawfare coup in process before our very eyes.

Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters and Vijay Prashad.

Everything seems prepared: the US ambassador with CIA credentials, a dirty tricks man with a habit of going to the embassy for help and with a record of asking the US to malign the left, a grand old man with an allergy to his own people, and a candidate whose father was backed by the oligarchy when he conducted a self-coup in 1992.

Pedro Castillo continues to hold the streets. The crowds will gather. They do not want their election to be stolen. But there is fear in Peru. Darker forces swirl about. Will the people be able to defeat them?

Peru's presidential candidate for the Peru Libre party, Pedro Castillo, who is leading the second electoral round, rejected the calls to annul the elections under a presumption of fraud made by politicians supporting Keiko Fujimori.


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