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Peru’s Castillo tells backers to ‘keep alert’ as vote count tensions rise By Reuters

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© Reuters. Peru’s presidential candidate Pedro Castillo addresses supporters from the headquarters of the “Free Peru” get together, in Lima, Peru June 10, 2021. REUTERS/Alessandro Cinque

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By Marcelo Rochabrun and Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) -Peru’s election front-runner Pedro Castillo known as on his supporters to “stay alert” on Friday as authorized wrangles over the ultra-close vote count ignited tensions within the Andean nation together with his socialist get together seemingly poised for victory.

Castillo, an elementary college trainer who has fired up help from poorer, rural Peruvians, raised considerations about plans by the opposition to nullify votes and sought readability from the electoral physique over the method.

“We call on the Peruvian people to stay alert,” he mentioned.

The feedback underscored rising tensions within the copper-rich nation that has been on tenterhooks because the Sunday vote. Castillo has 50.2% of the ballots, narrowly forward of right-wing Keiko Fujimori, who has made unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

Vladimir Cerron, the Marxist-Leninist head of Castillo’s Free Peru get together, was much more strident, saying on Twitter that “the people must rise up” in protection of the vote. He had earlier claimed victory for Castillo within the knife-edge election.

With shut to 99.6% of votes tallied and solely a handful of contested ballots to be added, Castillo was some 60,000 votes forward of Fujimori.

The nation’s electoral authority has but to affirm the win, however most observers and a few regional leftist leaders together with from Argentina and Bolivia have proclaimed Castillo as the victor, prompting protests from Peru’s authorities.

“Several presidents in the world are congratulating the victory of Pedro Castillo, in other words, he has solid international legitimacy,” Cerron wrote.

RADICAL INFLUENCE

Cerron, a Cuba-trained surgeon and Marxist-Leninist, is a former regional governor who couldn’t run for president himself as he has been sentenced on corruption grounds prior to now and is seen as a extra radical potential affect on Castillo.

Fujimori has but to concede the election with fewer than 100,000 votes remaining to be counted and her supporters have known as for protests towards the outcome.

The daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, she has doubled down on unsubstantiated allegations of fraud, and members of her get together have mentioned they won’t concede till all votes and appeals are counted, which may nonetheless take days.

Castillo himself has additionally stopped in need of proclaiming himself the winner, though he did say earlier this week that the get together had assured him he could be the winner.

The election has bitterly divided Peruvians, with higher-income residents supporting Fujimori whereas low-income ones supported Castillo, together with in key mining areas of the nation, the world’s no. 2 producer.

Castillo was not a member of the Free Peru get together earlier than his presidency run. It continues to be unclear whether or not he would undertake a far-leftist stance for the economic system if in energy.

In latest days, he has recruited Pedro Francke, a average left economist as his adviser, who has appeared to foster a extra market-friendly tone.

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