LIMA—Peru’s electoral authority on Monday named socialist Pedro Castillo as the country’s next president and winner of the June 6 runoff against right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, who accepted the result but said she had been cheated.
The official result had been delayed after Fujimori requested that the committee responsible for declaring the winner of the June 6 presidential election review accusations of irregularities in rural voting districts in the Andean region and annul some ballots if fraud is found.
The appeal triggered a constitutional crisis when key election official Luis Arce, one of the four committee members, was suspended late June for refusing to participate further in the electoral process after the committee rejected 10 appeals from Fujimori’s party—some on technical grounds as the challenges were lodged after 8 p.m. but before midnight on the third day after polls closed. Arce was replaced by Victor Rodriguez.
Fujimori, the daughter of the former anti-communist president Alberto Fujimori, said on Monday that she would have to accept the 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent result and the ruling of the National Jury of Elections as bound by law.
“I proclaim Pedro Castillo as president of the republic and Dina Boluarte as first vice president,” elections chief Jorge Salas said during a televised ceremony on Monday night.
Earlier in the day, Fujimori said she would have to recognize the official result “because it is what the law and the constitution that I have sworn to defend, mandates. The truth is going to come out anyway.”
“They have stolen thousands of votes from us,” Fujimori, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, told a news conference. She called on her followers to protest.
“We have the right to mobilize … but in a peaceful manner and within the framework of the law,” she said.
The Organization of American States, the European Union, and Britain have all said the election was clean. The U.S. Embassy in Lima sent a tweet, welcoming the announcement. “We value our close ties with Peru and hope to strengthen them with President elect Pedro Castillo after his inauguration on July 28,” the tweet said.
Castillo, in his first comments as president-elect, called for national unity. “I ask for effort and sacrifice in the struggle to make this a just and sovereign country,” he said.
A 51-year-old former school teacher, union leader, and the son of illiterate farmers, Castillo—leading the Marxist “Free Peru” Party—has pledged to reform the Constitution and hike taxes or nationalize mining and oil and gas firms, which has seen capital leave the country. Peru is the world’s second-largest copper-producing nation.
The nation has been engulfed in a string of political crises recently, having had three leaders since November.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets amid the unrest, with Castillo supporters demanding confirmation of the unofficial results, in which Castillo led by 44,000 votes, and Fujimori supporters demanded investigations into the election fraud allegations. They also held banners reading “no to communism”—directed at Castillo’s Marxist party.
Fujimori also lost the presidential election 2016 by 41,000 votes, while her party won an absolute majority in the congressional election.
Castillo will take office on July 28.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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