Peru: the presidency of Pedro Castillo or how to govern in a minefield

The proclamation of the rural school teacher Pedro Castillo as the winner of the presidential ballot, it is not a relief for Peruvians. The defeated candidate Keiko Fujimori announced that she accepts the results of the vote because it is required by the Constitution, but at the same time she affirmed that her opponent obtained an “illegitimate” victory.

What was said by Fujimori it’s like putting a mine on the ground of the next government of Castillo.

Keiko Fujimori, who has added a third consecutive defeat in his attempt to win the presidency of Peru – he participated in the 2011 and 2016 elections – insisted that there was a plot set up by Castillo and his Peru Libre party to snatch the votes.

However, all the allegations of fraud presented by the army of lawyers of the Fujimori Popular Force party, not only in the National Elections Jury but also in other instances such as the Public Ministry and the Judiciary, they were dismissed for lack of support.

The core of the accusations of Fujimori are based on adding the failures, deficiencies or errors of the electoral process, as the result of a conspiracy to steal votes. Castillo defeated Fujimori by just 44,263 votes difference.

Keiko Fujimori’s legal actions created a climate of perplexity, uncertainty and insecurity, delaying the transfer of power to the point that the electoral court has just proclaimed Pedro Castillo the winner and president-elect, one week before the assumption of power, on July 28. The ballot took place on June 6.

Castillo’s choice implies various historical milestones for Peruvians: It is the first time that a citizen residing in the Andes -province of Chota, Cajamarca region- has been elected, and not in the capital, Lima. The president-elect also does not belong to the economic and political elites of the country. And he is a rural primary school teacher. Castillo is also the first leftist Peruvian head of state.

Precisely, the political and ideological affiliation of Pedro Castillo served Keiko Fujimori to bring together extreme right and right sectors against the choice of the teacher, under the argument that he represented “communism” that seeks to enthrone itself as in Cuba and Venezuela.

The challenges

“What we have to do now is face together a new stage that will be very difficult because communism does not come to power to let goThat’s why they want to impose a new Constitution on us, ”Keiko Fujimori said in a presentation hours before the electoral court proclaimed Pedro Castillo as president-elect from 2021 to 2026 on Monday night.

Indeed, Castillo raises a new Constitution to replace it with the one approved in 1994 with a Fujimori majority, after the Alberto Fujimori coup d’état on April 5, 1992. However, Castillo does not have a majority in the next Congress. Rather, it appears very adverse.

“(Castillo’s party), Peru Libre, has stolen thousands of votes from us on election day. (…) I have no doubt that new elements will be discovered every day that they will allow to know many more details of this operation that Peru Libre deployed to take power, ”said Keiko Fujimori, insisting on the narrative of electoral fraud, despite the fact that the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union and the United States government, among others , they celebrated that the electoral process was carried out in an exemplary manner.

However, as Keiko Fujimori herself knows – her father “won” the 2000 elections through vast electoral fraud – to obtain victory by cheating. a criminal organization is required, corrupt electoral authorities and a lot of money. But until shortly before the vote on April 11 of this year, Pedro Castillo was not among the favorites, his electoral campaign was very limited and his Peru Libre party did not have a presence throughout the country.

After what Keiko Fujimori said about Castillo’s “illegitimate” election, it is very likely that the representation of his Popular Force party in Congress, propose the formation of an investigative commission on “fraud”, a version supported by other right-wing parties defeated by the rural teacher. S

It would be a first attempt to break Castillo, and the fujimori has experience in vacating presidents: he removed Pedro Pablo Kuczynski from the Government Palace, on March 23, 2018, and Martín Vizcarra, on November 9, 2020.

While Keiko Fujimori gave a war cry announcing that there will be more actions, Pedro Castillo, upon hearing the proclamation, released a conciliatory message: “The time has come to call all sectors of society to cbuilding together an inclusive Peru, a just Peru, a Free Peru. Without discrimination and for the rights and all. Today, sisters and brothers, a new stage in our history begins ”.

However, Castillo should not only fear Fujimorism but also to the internal of his party, which is another time bomb. The founder and leader of Peru Libre, Vladimir Cerrón, who nominated him for the presidency of Peru, faces a conviction for corruption and has a dozen cases pending for alleged illegal acts when he served as governor of the Andean region of Junín.

Cerrón, a Cuban-graduated neurologist, stands to Castillo’s left. His judicial problems will affect the government of Peru Libre. When in a few hours Castillo defines the ministerial cabinet, It will be known if Pedro Castillo managed to impose his criteria to Vladimir Cerrón.

On July 28, Peruvians will celebrate the bicentennial of national independence, but it is more certain that they will be more concerned about the message that Castillo will give. Who knows if the first time bombs explode on the same day.



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