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Pedro Castillo, a rural union activist from a Marxist party, was finally declared Peru’s next president after weeks of vote recounts and lawsuits prompted by allegations of fraud. Supporters celebrate outside the electoral commission in Lima after Castillo’a victory was confirmed.
The results, proclaimed Monday night by Peruvian electoral authorities, are expected to dispel the political uncertainty that has clouded the Andean nation since the June 6 election runoff.
Castillo, who was virtually unknown six months ago, defeated by a narrow margin right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, a leader of the country’s most powerful political clan. After alleging fraud and demanding several vote recounts, she said earlier on Monday she would accept authorities’ decision even as she called the proclamation “illegitimate.”
A teacher from the highlands with no previous experience of national politics, Castillo, 51, ran on the slogan “No more poor people in a rich country,” meaning that the nation’s vast mineral wealth must benefit ordinary people.
He says his focus will be on education and health, making him the face of Latin America’s resurgent left and a symbol of growing disenchantment with elites following the ravages of the pandemic. He’ll take office on July 28.
During the campaign, Castillo criss-crossed the country wearing a broad straw-hat, riding a horse to the polls and dancing with supporters. On April 11, he beat out 17 other candidates to win the first-round election.
While his Free Peru party was founded by a Marxist neurosurgeon who praised autocrats such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Castillo has tried to distance himself from party radicals.
Castillo swept the rural and Andean regions of the country, while Fujimori won the capital Lima and coastal cities in the north.
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