Pedro Castillo, who surprised by taking the lead in the first round on Sunday, is a 51-year-old schoolteacher. Her rival, Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the ex-president of the same name, is a candidate for the third time.
The teacher Pedro Castillo, representative of the radical left, and the candidate of the populist right, Keiko Fujimori, were on Monday April 12 to qualify for the second round of the presidential election in Peru. After nearly 90% of the ballots were counted by the national electoral office (ONPE), Pedro Castillo counted 18.83% of the votes and Keiko Fujimori 13.21%.
Pedro Castillo, who created the surprise by taking the lead in the first round on Sunday, is a 51-year-old schoolteacher, released from anonymity in 2017 thanks to a vast movement of teachers’ strike of which he had taken the head . Originally from the province of Cajmarca (north) of which he wears the traditional white hat, Pedro Castillo was a candidate for the small party of the radical left Peru Libre. He was born in Puña, a village in this province where he lived and worked as a teacher in a rural school for 24 years. His sense of pedagogy hit the nail on the head during the electoral debates on television, where he stood out for his clear and concise answers. In 2017, he had led thousands of teachers in the public sector in a national strike movement that lasted nearly 80 days to demand in particular salary increases, which were finally obtained.
During the campaign he promised sweeping changes “Not patches or reforms” as proposed, according to him, the three other left candidates. Peru Libre is one of the few left-wing Peruvian parties that defends the regime of Venezuelan socialist president Nicolas Maduro. Its program is based on three pillars: health, education and agriculture, which it intends to strengthen to stimulate the country’s development. Pedro Castillo is also in favor of regaining state control of the country’s energy and mineral wealth. Like other candidates, he promised to convene a Constituent Assembly to draft a new Constitution, which he accuses of too much favoring the market economy.
Warning to Venezuelan migrants
Among his most controversial campaign pledges, Pedro Castillo pledged to deport foreigners who commit crimes in Peru, a thinly veiled warning to illegal Venezuelan migrants who have arrived in the hundreds of thousands since 2017. He pledged to give “72 hours to leave the country for illegal aliens who come to commit crimes”. He also wants to reintroduce the death penalty.
Keiko Fujimori, 45, eldest daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), is a candidate for the presidency for the third time, after losing in the second round in 2011 and 2016. For this new candidacy, the leader de Fuerza popular (right wing populist), who spent 16 months in pre-trial detention in a corruption investigation, adopted a more moderate and conciliatory tone than in previous campaigns. The prosecution requested 30 years in prison against her in connection with the investigation into the Odebrecht scandal, named after a Brazilian construction giant, who admitted to paying bribes to dozens of Latin politicians – Americans.
The heir to Fujimorism, this blend of authoritarian populism, societal conservatism and economic liberalism, has spent half of its life in politics. In 1994, at the age of 19, her parents’ separation had forced her to become a sort of surrogate First Lady. But she is not the only one to have tasted politics in this family from Japan. In 2017, she broke up with her younger brother Kenji, 40, who was vying for the head of the movement, before he gave up politics.
This mother of two, married to an American, still benefits in part of the country from the popularity of her father, whom many Peruvians admit to having overcome the far left guerrillas of the Shining Path and hyperinflation. bequeathed by its predecessor. Regarding her father, who is 82 years old and has been serving a 25-year prison sentence since 2007 for corruption and crimes against humanity, Ms. Fujimori reiterated her intention to grant him a presidential pardon. “I tried to obtain my father’s freedom through legal means and since I did not obtain justice, I (thank you)», she told AFP during the election campaign.