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Big rallies in Peru amid tensions over presidential vote result

Political tensions remain high in Peru following the June 6 election in which socialist Pedro Castillo declared himself the winner. But his rival conservative Keiko Fujimori has levelled accusations of election fraud.

Peru's presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori addresses supporters in Lima, Peru on June 19, 2021.
Peru’s presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori addresses supporters in Lima, Peru on June 19, 2021. (Reuters)

Thousands of supporters of both socialist Pedro Castillo and conservative Keiko Fujimori have staged rallies in Peru, as tensions rose over the result of the June 6 presidential election.

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Castillo was leading the official count while Fujimori sought to get votes annulled, although pollster Ipsos Peru said it had done a statistical analysis of the ballots and found no evidence of abnormal voting patterns that would have benefited one candidate over the other.

Supporters of Peru's presidential candidate Pedro Castillo gather as police officers stand guard in Lima, Peru on June 19, 2021.
Supporters of Peru’s presidential candidate Pedro Castillo gather as police officers stand guard in Lima, Peru on June 19, 2021. (Reuters)

Won’t let them ‘ignore the popular will’

“We are not going to allow them to ignore the popular will, to ignore the electoral result. We are going to defend democracy,” Veronika Mendoza, former leftist presidential candidate, said at the Castillo support rally.

She accused the Fujimori camp of lying about election fraud.

Castillo, who aims to rewrite the constitution if named the winner, got 50.125 percent of the vote, with a difference of 44,058 ballots. He has declared himself the winner.

Fujimori, daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori, showed no signs of relenting.

“We are not going to accept our votes being stolen,” she said at a rally.

To officially name a winner the National Elections Jury must resolve all challenges to the results.

Mining companies are watching the process closely, with business leaders voicing concern about the effect that Castillo’s socialist policies would have in the world’s No. 2 copper-producing country.

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