Both sides in Peru’s contested election double down in weekend rallies

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Supporters of socialist Pedro Castillo and conservative Keiko Fujimori took to the streets by the thousands in Peru on Saturday, as tensions rose over the result of the June 6 presidential election.

Castillo was leading the official count while Fujimori sought to get votes annulled, although pollster Ipsos Peru said it had done a statistical analysis of the ballots and found no evidence of abnormal voting patterns that would have benefited one candidate over the other.

“We are not going to allow them to ignore the popular will, to ignore the electoral result. We are going to defend democracy,” Veronika Mendoza, former leftist presidential candidate, said at the Castillo support rally.

She accused the Fujimori camp of lying about election fraud. Castillo, who aims to rewrite the constitution if named the winner, got 50.125% of the vote, with a difference of 44,058 ballots. He has declared himself the winner.

Fujimori, daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori, showed no signs of relenting.

“We are not going to accept our votes being stolen,” she said at a rally.

To officially name a winner the National Elections Jury must resolve all challenges to the results. Mining companies are watching the process closely, with business leaders voicing concern about the effect that Castillo’s socialist policies would have in the world’s No. 2 copper producing country. (Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by David Gregorio)

Photo Right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori (C) holds a rally with supporters in Lima, Peru, 19 June 2021. Fujimori’s rival, Pedro Castillo, is leading in the official vote count in Peru’s presidential elections, which took place on 06 June. Keiko Fujimori is seeking the annullment of nearly 200,000 votes due to allegations of voting fraud. EPA-EFE/Antonio Guzman