Lima on edge ahead of Peru’s presidential run-off

Lima, Jun 5 (EFE).- Some bank headquarters, telephone companies and shopping mall in the Peruvian capital were on Saturday shut down for the public and covered with screens hours before the national electoral process kicks off for a run-off to decide the next president.

Less than 24 hours before polling begins, images of banking headquarters sealing off their doors and windows with wooden and metal panels and shopping malls surrounded with fences and screens in some Lima districts began to circulate on social media, with the measures criticized for creating an tense atmosphere.

The presidential run-off between Pedro Castillo of the left-wing Peru Libre (Free Peru) party and the right-wing Fuerza Popular (People’s Force) candidate Keiko Fujimori, has kept the electorate on tenterhooks because both candidates are virtually tied in the opinion polls.

As the electoral norms have banned the circulation of polls over the past week, a number of unverified and fake, even threatening material has surfaced on social media over the possibility of disturbances in Lima in case of either candidate winning.

There have been unsubstantiated rumors of looting, attacks on villas and other places, the presence of “foreign agents” ready to unleash violence and even the armed forces getting ready to intervene in case Castillo wins the elections.

Similarly, recurring warnings about alleged plans to manipulate the election results and other conspiracy theories have also been doing the rounds.

The transition government headed by Francisco Sagasti and electoral authorities on Saturday appealed for calm and urged candidates and their supporters to wait for the official results, expected to be announced on Sunday night.

Interior Minister Jose Elice said that officers of the national police were on high alert during the electoral processes and all members of the institution were committed to ensuring that people exercising their right to vote.

National Police Chief Cesar Cervantes also asserted that the force would guarantee the security of all Peruvians before, during and after the elections. EFE


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