On a long day of voting this Sunday (6), with polls open for 12 hours and division of voters into time slots to avoid crowding due to the coronavirus pandemic, the candidates for the second round for the Presidency of Peru lowered the tone of the attacks that been trading up here.
Both leftist Pedro Castillo, 51, who took the lead in the first round, and rightist Keiko Fujimori, 46, made less-than-aggressive statements about the vote and its opponents. The measured speech clashed with that seen in the electoral campaign, in which there was exchange of barbs and mutual threats.
Keiko claimed that Castillo would mean Peru’s path to becoming Venezuela, and Castillo said that the adversary would be a continuation of the management full of human rights abuses like that of his father, Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000).
As is traditional in the country, both candidates held electoral breakfasts, where they meet with supporters and family members before the voting day. Keiko preferred to do it in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Lima, San Juan de Lurigancho, outdoors.
The rightist promised to respect the result, unlike in other years, when she made accusations of fraud. She has already been a candidate in 2011 and 2016, losing both times in the second round. “We don’t know what the result will be, but whatever it may be, I ratify our commitment to respect the will of the people, to say that it will be the decision that our country defines whether I have to serve as president of Peru or as a simple citizen,” she said.
Castillo, at an outdoor table, in front of his home in Cajamarca, also repeated that he would accept the results. “Let’s respect democracy. We are here to introduce ourselves to try to offer a solution to Peru’s problems. Not only do I want to reaffirm that I will respect results, but I would also like to ask everyone for reassurance,” he said.
Keiko voted at the end of the day in Surco, while Castillo did so in the morning in Tacabamba.
Still without official voter turnout figures, local television stations claimed that many polling stations had a scant audience. The pandemic and the fact that both candidates had high rejection could be part of the explanation.
The expectation is for a tight vote count —according to the most recent poll, carried out by the Ipsos institute, Castillo added up to 51.1% of the intentions, and Keiko, 48.9%, a technical tie, since the margin of error was 2.5 percentage points.
There were few incidents involving public figures this Sunday. The controversial leader of Peru Libre, Castillo’s party, Vladimir Cerrón, showed up to vote in a T-shirt of the legend — white, with a collar and red pockets — covered by a jacket. This violates the electoral law and was denounced by militants of Fujimorism. Cerrón is investigated for corruption, as is Keiko herself.
Peruvian President Francisco Sagasti — the fourth to occupy the position in the current term — voted early, at 8 am, in Lima, and asked for calm during the counting of the results. The president said that until his last day in office, he will fulfill the promise of a peaceful transition. He also called for “respect for the election result” from the two candidates.
The winner of the election takes over on July 28, the country’s bicentennial independence day.