— Internet News

Divided by class and geography, Peruvians head to the polls to elect a president

Peruvians will pick a president on Sunday in an election that has bitterly divided them by class and geography. Urban and higher-income citizens prefer right-wing Keiko Fujimori, while the poor rural support leftist political novice Pedro Castillo.

Polls in the runoff election are to open at 7 am (local time) in most of the country’s 11,700 voting centers, with official results arriving at 11:30 pm.

The voting happened days after Peru almost tripled its coronavirus death toll following a government review. Peru now has the world’s worst coronavirus death rate per capita.

Polls show the race in a statistical dead heat but with Ms. Fujimori, who had earlier trailed Mr. Castillo, pulling slightly ahead. Ms. Fujimori, 46, the daughter of jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori, promises to maintain economic stability and pro-free market policies in the world’s second-largest copper producer and pardon her father. The latter was sentenced for human rights violations.

Ms. Fujimori herself spent several months in custody on corruption allegations she denies. If she wins, the criminal case against her will be halted while she leads the country.

In this 24 March 2021 file photo, presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori waves to supporters as she campaigns on the outskirts of Lima, Peru.



Mr. Castillo, 51, an elementary school teacher and union leader, has galvanized support from Peru’s rural poor – and scared investors – with pledges to nationalize the mining sector, a stance he later sought to take back. He has vowed to alter multinational companies’ tax regimes and wants to rewrite the country’s constitution.

He is from a remote village near Tacabamba, in Peru’s northern Andes, which on Saturday night cheered him as he made his way back home to vote. Mr. Castillo gave brief remarks, even though political campaigning was banned in the last days before an election in Peru.

The city government installed a stage in the main square filled with supporters and music. The rest of the city has been plastered with pro-Castillo banners without a single pro-Fujimori sign.

In this 16 April 2021 file photo, Free Peru party candidate Pedro Castillo poses on his property in Chugur, Peru.


‘They promise everything.’

Many Peruvians deeply mistrust politicians after two decades in which five former presidents have been investigated or prosecuted for corruption. Last November, the country cycled through three presidents in just a few days, a political crisis that sparked fierce protests and left several dead.

Ruth Rojas, a Peruvian mother whose daughter has a disability and lives in deep poverty, said she believed neither of the candidates’ vows. They promise everything until they get into government, but then they forget about the poor; they think of themselves and their people,” she told Reuters.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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