Peru ends second week since presidential election with no declared winner
Peru is embroiled in heightened political tension, as the country is set to end a second week since the June 6 presidential election without a winner being officially declared.
With 100% of the ballots counted, Pedro Castillo, the former leader of the teachers’ strike and candidate of the Peru Free party, leads the right-wing Fuerza Popular candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the former dictator Alberto Fujimori, imprisoned for 25 years. for crimes against humanity, by a margin of 50.12% against 49.87. Only 43,000 votes out of more than seventeen and a half million castes separate the two candidates, but it is clear that Castillo won.
A statement that Castillo won, however, was blocked by Camp Fujimori, which mounted a legal offensive based on false allegations of electoral fraud, seeking to overturn the results of hundreds of polling stations in the Andean highlands and regions. Amazon regions where Castillo won with overwhelming margins.
On Wednesday, the National Election Commission (JNE) announced that of the 942 protests filed by Camp Fujimori, 792 have been resolved, without any of them establishing any electoral fraud. Most of the complaints were filed after a June 9 deadline for initiating such challenges.
Although the challenges have no basis in fact or in law, they were brought by an army of powerful lawyers from Lima’s largest law firm, with the aim of delaying confirmation of election results for so long. as possible. Camp Fujimori is playing for time, with the intention that its protests and relentless allegations of fraud will create the conditions to overturn the election by extra-constitutional means, up to and including a military coup.
This conspiracy enjoys the support of the mainstream media, most of the country’s financial oligarchy and sections of the military.
The similarities between the tactics followed by Fujimori and those employed by Trump in the 2020 US presidential election do not end with the use of fabricated accusations of electoral fraud to overturn the election or, at the very least, delegitimize. the new government. Like Trump, Fujimori, along with other members of his family and key associates, risk criminal convictions and jail if they fail to seize the presidency.
The anti-corruption prosecution has called for Keiko Fujimori to be remanded in custody for money laundering linked to political bribes, notably from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. She is also accused of having led a criminal organization, that is to say her own party, the Fuerza Popular.
The threat of political violence or even a military coup is real. Fujimori’s supporters staged fascist protests, filled with torches and chants of the national anthem while giving the Nazi salute.
Castillo supporters, many of whom have come to Lima from the interior, have also demonstrated in the capital to demand that their candidate be officially declared the winner.
Meanwhile, 63 retired generals and other high-ranking officers issued a statement demanding the resignation of the head of the electoral committee, warning of the danger of a Castillo victory and calling for “building confidence in armed forces and police ”. The Defense Ministry felt compelled to issue a statement in response lamenting the use of official military symbols in the statement.
Since Castillo came out with the most votes in the first round, and Fujimori with the second, each with less than 20%, the Peruvian right-wing and the media have waged a rabid campaign calling Castillo a “communist” and a “Terrorist”, accusing of transforming Peru into another Venezuela.
Since winning the second round, Castillo and his supporters have sought to disassociate themselves from radical policies, including the nationalization of mining industries demanded in Peru Libre’s platform, while attracting a group of moderate “advisers”. The most prominent of these is Pedro Francke, an economist at the Catholic University and a former official of the World Bank and the Central Bank of Peru. Francke had been a senior adviser to Veronika Mendoza, the candidate of the pseudo-left Juntos por el Perú party, which placed far sixth in the first round of the presidential elections.
The growing role of Mendoza’s advisers is politically significant. In the 2016 presidential election, Mendoza lent his support to former Wall Street financier Pedro Pablo Kuczynski as ‘lesser evil’ in his successful runoff with Keiko Fujimori, clearly highlighting the ‘lesser evil’ approach. responsible ”of Mendoza vis-à-vis the interests of Peruvians. and international capital.
At a press conference in Lima on Tuesday, Francke reassured the Peruvian and international bourgeoisie: “There will be no expropriations, there will be no nationalizations. No confiscations, nothing. Francke is generally expected to be appointed as Castillo’s economy minister.
Earlier in the week, Scotiabank Peru, the country’s third largest financial institution, released a statement declaring its endorsement of Francke’s role and a document released on behalf of Castillo “suggesting a softer, more pro-market (or at least, less radical) position on issues such as property rights, respect for economic institutions, relations with private enterprises, price controls and other concerns. He concluded that instead of being a “radical leftist”, Castillo’s top economic adviser is a “Keynesian”.
Castillo and Francke both organized a whirlwind of meetings with great personalities from the business world. Following these meetings, Roque Benavides, head of the mining company Buenaventura, which for decades mined billions of dollars in minerals at the cost of destroying rivers and valleys in Peru, and also president of the main trade organization , Confiep, said he would accept the tax increase proposals, but would not tolerate nationalizations.
Castillo’s program has been reduced to a tax reform, a renegotiation of royalties from transnational mining companies, and an agrarian reform that renounces any expropriation or redistribution of land.
The mainstream media and the Peruvian political establishment demanded that Castillo prove his reliability by breaking with Peru Libre founder Vladimir Cerrón, the former governor of the central department of Junín. Combining pseudo-Marxist rhetoric, populist demagogy and far-right social policies – adopted by Castillo – on issues such as abortion and “gender politics,” Cerrón was convicted of corruption.
The official declaration of Castillo’s victory will do little to resolve Peru’s deep political, social and economic crisis. The country is among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, recording the highest death toll per capita in the world. The effects on the economic conditions of the working class and the oppressed masses have been catastrophic, with around nine million jobs lost, a 10% increase in poverty and soaring commodity prices.
The real fear of the Peruvian bourgeoisie is not of Castillo, who already makes it clear that he is someone with whom they can do business, but of an eruption of the class struggle brought about by the lowering of the level. of life and a dramatic increase in social inequalities the heights grew richer, as workers faced death, disease, unemployment and impoverishment.