Fujimori calls foul play as Castillo holds on to narrow lead

fujimori election
Pro-Fujimori poster in Lima. Photo: J. Erick Brazzan/Shutterstock

The vote count in Peru’s presidential election has remained extremely close since Sunday evening. The current lead held by far-left candidate Pedro Castillo sits at just 92,000 votes, with 96.7 percent of ballots counted. His opponent, far-right Keiko Fujimori, had a six-point lead at the count’s halfway stage, and only fell into second place after 94 percent of votes were counted. 

This is déjà vu for Ms. Fujimori, who in 2016 lost to Pedro Pablo Kuczynski by just 41,000 votes. Just like five years ago, her camp is calling foul play. “There is evidence of fraud, which for us is unacceptable,” said Ms. Fujimori in a press conference on Monday evening. “It’s something planned, systematic.”

A victory for Mr. Castillo would be less an endorsement of his policies than a vote of no confidence for his rival, who is the daughter of former dictator Alberto Fujimori, sentenced to 25 years in prison for leading death squads, embezzlement, and bribery during his 1990-2000 government.In 2016, the bitterness of the campaign — and the unwillingness of the Fujimori camp to accept the legitimacy of the results — helped fuel a troubled administration for Mr. Kuczynski, who was ousted from office in 2017 over graft allegations. Experts say a Castillo administration will be met with similar challenges.