From Lima. With one hundred percent of the electoral records processed, the professor and left-wing unionist Pedro Castillo is the winner of the elections and president-elect, but there cannot be an official proclamation because there are contested votes and requests for the nullity of other votes, which must be reviewed. According to various experts, the result is irreversible, but the right refuses to accept it. Castillo wins with 50.2 against 49.8 percent of the right-wing Keiko Fujimori, an advantage of 70 thousand votes.
There are about 150 thousand votes, out of more than 18.7 million, that have yet to enter the final count because they are being observed and that must be resolved. Those votes wouldn’t change the result, so Fujimorism intends to annul another 200 thousand votes in areas that widely supported the leftist candidate. There will not be an official result and proclamation of the president-elect until the votes observed and the requests for annulment made by Fujimori are resolved, a final desperate action of a right that with all its economic and media power lost these elections.
“Professor Pedro is calm”
The rural teacher who in July must assume the presidency of Peru held meetings with various collaborators on Thursday, spoke with the Argentine president Alberto Fernandez, received the congratulations of the Bolivian president Luis Arce and received a visit from the former center-right presidential candidate George Forsyth. Castillo did not speak, but his vice president did, Dina Boluarte. “Professor Pedro is calm, serene, resting from the campaign he has had,” he said. With the results on the table, Boluarte stressed that they gave Castillo the winner, but pointed out that they will wait “with serenity and calm” for the votes observed and the requests for annulment to be defined and the result to be made official to declare their victory.
“Mrs. Keiko Fujimori is talking about systematic fraud, we reject those claims. I tell the Peruvian people not to be fooled by messages of terror and hatred. I call Mrs. Fujimori to reflect and no longer polarize the population. You have to know how to lose with dignity and humility, “the virtually elected vice president told the press.
Fujimorism is reluctant to accept its electoral defeat and further strains an already polarized environment. Without proof, he insists on talking about fraud and he seeks to win at the table what he has lost at the polls. Keiko has said that there are still 500,000 votes to be reviewed, an inflated figure.
The Fujimori say that the observed votes pending to be added to the final count – some 150 thousand that inflate to 300 thousand – are mostly theirs, something of which there is no evidence. The tendency of what has already been advanced is to validate most of those votes. Fujimorism would need not only all those observed votes to be validated, but that at least 80 percent are in their favor, something that would defy all logic of a very close election. In his main electoral stronghold, Lima, Keiko obtained 65 percent.
As those votes do not give him to turn the result around, on Wednesday night Fujimori drew one last letter: demand the annulment of some 200 thousand votes from regions where Castillo wins widely, in some cases with more than 80 percent. Most are from rural areas, Castillo’s electoral stronghold. Their arguments don’t hold up.
To request that nullity, they point out that there are voting tables in which their members – three, chosen by lot – are from the same family, and, without any evidence, they jump to the conclusion that they would be Castillo’s supporter families that took the tables. Several of those alleged relatives accused by Fujimorism have already come out to clarify that they carry the same surname, but they do not have any family relationship. And they were not at the tables by their will, but they were chosen in a lottery. The deadline to challenge the polling station members had long expired before the elections.
Fujimorism points out that there are minutes in which the signatures of some board members do not exactly coincide with those of their identity documents, with which they pretend to speak of an alleged impersonation. There is no expertise to determine that these signatures do not belong to the board members designated by lottery. And no evidence of spoofing.
They also indicate that there are minutes of tables where almost all the votes go to Castillo and Keiko gets very few or in some cases none and they assure that this “is impossible” and that is why they demand that all the votes of those tables be annulled. Those minutes are from rural areas in which Castillo exceeded 90 percent, so that low or no vote for Keiko at some tables is far from being “impossible.”
That is how weak are the arguments of Fujimori to try to annul Castillo’s votes and win at the table. Lawyers from the main and most expensive studies in Lima work with Fujimori to annul the votes of the poorest citizens of the country, those from rural areas, and with that change the electoral result.
Disregard and delegitimize
“They have the right to request the nullity of votes, but it is one thing to ask for the nullity and another to have the possibility of that request being approved. The reasons that they have given for requesting the nullity of votes are little understandable. It seeks to nullify votes where Castillo overwhelmingly wins, but the same problems at other tables do not touch them. All this claim does is extend the end of the electoral process, and in the meantime we have a very strong political and media campaign talking about fraud. The strategy is to stain the electoral process and if there is no way to reverse it, ignore the results and delegitimize the elected government”, He declared to Page 12 Fernando Tuesta, political scientist and former head of the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), in charge of organizing the elections and counting the votes.
Requests for the nullity of votes presented by Fujimori must be resolved by the electoral justice of each region where the polling stations in question were located. That decision can be appealed to National Elections Jury (JNE), a process that will take several days. With baseless arguments, the request for the annulment of votes should not pass, thereby officially confirming Castillo’s victory. But there is strong pressure on electoral justice.
Request for preventive detention
As the votes decree their third consecutive electoral defeat and their desperate resources delay the official announcement of that defeat, Keiko Fujimori faces the possibility of going back to jail. The prosecution has requested his preventive detention for not complying with the rules of conduct of the appearance with restrictions in the process for money laundering, criminal organization and obstruction of justice that is followed by receiving more than 15 million dollars in secret and in cash for your election campaigns in 2011 and 2016. Keiko has already spent several months in preventive detention for this case.
For Fujimori, this election, which he refuses to lose, is the difference between escaping from a trial with presidential immunity or facing a process with a request from the prosecution, which has a solid case, of 30 years in prison.