Peru election: Pedro Castillo gains last-minute lead

FILE PHOTO: Peru's right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori and socialist candidate Pedro Castillo wave at the end of their debate ahead of the June 6 run-off election, in Arequipa, Peru May 30, 2021. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda/Pool

Left-wing candidate Pedro Castillo has edged into the lead in a dramatic twist in Peru’s presidential election.

With 94% of votes counted, Mr. Castillo overtook his right-wing rival, Keiko Fujimori, who is running for the presidency for the third time.

He has a lead of 0.1 percentage points, with just over 25,000 votes currently separating the two candidates.

They have both called for calm while the count is underway. This is Peru’s most polarised poll in recent history.

Ms. Fujimori had been leading since the official count began, but as results from rural areas – where support for Mr. Castillo is strong – started to come in, the gap between them narrowed.

The new president will be taking on a country in crisis as Peru struggles with a recession and the highest coronavirus death rate per capita in the world.


Peru at a glance

  • The country has a population of about 32 million
  • Inequality remains high, especially between those who live in urban and rural areas
  • The pandemic has hit it hard, and nearly a third of its people are now in poverty
  • It has been through a series of political crises in recent years and, last November, it was led by three presidents within the space of a week

Sources: World Bank, CIA Factbook

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