School teacher, Pedro Castillo has been declared Peru’s president-elect, six weeks after elections during which the results were delayed by claims of electoral fraud from his right-wing rival, Keiko Fujimori.
Jorge Luis Salas, head of the JNE elections jury, announced his victory in a brief virtual ceremony on Monday night, July 19.
Castillo, 51 is the head of the Teacher’s trade unionist. He becomes the first non-rich president of Peru.
His victory leaves rival Fujimori facing an imminent corruption trial.
“On behalf of my family I would like to salute the electoral authorities… and also to salute the political parties that have taken part in this democratic celebration,” Castillo told supporters gathered at the headquarters of his Peru Libre (Free Peru) party in Lima.
“Dear compatriots, I bring here an open heart for each and every one of you,” he declared from the balcony after
In a gesture to Fujimori, 46, the president-elect urged her to help “take the country forward” and said he held “no resentment” despite the many attacks he had fielded in recent weeks.
The JNE validated the vote count by the ONPE elections body, which had given Castillo 50.12 percent of the ballots cast, some 44,000 more than Fujimori — most of whose objections the jury dismissed.
Fujimori had earlier claimed fraud despite observers from the Organization of American States, the United States and European Union declaring the vote free and fair, and her backers had called for fresh elections.
The US embassy in Lima congratulated Peruvians on successful elections.
“We value our deep ties and hope to strengthen them with the president-elect Pedro Castillo after his inauguration,” it said on Twitter.
Castillo has targeted creating a million jobs in a year, and said Peru’s mining and hydrocarbon riches “must be nationalized.”
Among his more controversial campaign promises, Castillo has vowed to expel illegal foreigners who commit crimes in Peru, giving them “72 hours… to leave the country.” – a warning to undocumented Venezuelan migrants who have arrived in the hundreds of thousands since 2017.