Peru divided between Castillo, Fujimori amid clamor of ‘coup,’ ‘fraud’

Lima, Jun 26 (EFE).- The sharp political division in Peru on Saturday returned to the streets with parallel demonstrations by those who support right-winger Keiko Fujimori’s allegations of fraud in recently held elections, and the supporters of left-wing Pedro Castillo, who demanded the formal declaration of his victory.

Fujimori’s supporters believe that Castillo’s electoral victory, which has been challenged by his opponent, was fraudulent, while the other side held protests against alleged “coup” attempts by the Fujimori camp after her third consecutive defeat in presidential polls.

Both leaders spoke at the massive demonstrations held in Lima’s city center for the second week in a row, as the pressure mounts on the National Jury of Elections, which is yet to decide on Fujimori’s appeal for annulling thousands of votes.

Despite not being declared so, Castillo has already begun acting as the president-elect, and on Saturday outlined the the key focus of his government along with issuing a message of unity at the Plaza San Martin in the capital.

“The fights are over. I call for the broadest possible unity of the Peruvian people. From now on, there are no winners or losers. We are a big family required to move forward towards a Peru of opportunities,” he said.

“You have an elected government here,” insisted the teacher and leader of the Peruvian teachers’ union, who promised a corruption-free term.

Castillo rejected allegations of being a communist or Chavist – a reference to former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez – leveled by the opposition, and insisted that he was a democrat and believed in institutions.

The leader also thanked international bodies such as the Organization of American States (OAS), which have ruled out fraud in the elections held on Jun. 6.

The European Union, the United States Department of State, Canada and other international observers have also backed the electoral process, in which Castillo had received 50.12 percent of the votes, securing a slender lead of 44,000 over Fujimori.

However, his opponent, the daughter and political successor of former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), has alleged fraud and sought the annulment of around 200,000 votes from the rural, Andean and poor regions, where Castillo had registered a landslide.

As the electoral jurors have rejected all her primary appeals citing lack of proof or delays, Fujimori said on Saturday that she would send a letter to interim president Francisco Sagasti seeking an international audit by the OAS.

“Mr Sagasti: look and hear the voices of more than 8 million Peruvians who want to know the truth,” the leader said on Saturday.

“We don’t ask you to favor us, but to probe all these irregularities and cheating that has been done at the polling booths,” she added.

“I will never yield,” insisted Fujimori, whose stance of not recognizing the results has polarized the country, as the head of the National Office of Electoral Processes, Piero Carvetto, was manhandled outside the Regatas sports club in Lima on Saturday.

Fijimori is facing money laundering charges over allegations of irregular financing for her electoral campaigns, and her political future hangs in the balance as the country awaits formal declaration of electoral results.

All eyes are now on the National Jury of Elections, which has to take a final call on the Fujimori’s appeal. EFE


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