Peru set to name Castillo as president as rival says she will recognize result

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Peru's conservative Keiko Fujimori addresses the media after the electoral jury rejected her appeals to flip election results, in Lima
Peru’s conservative Keiko Fujimori addresses the media after the electoral jury rejected her latest appeals to flip the results of Peru’s June 6 election, setting the stage for socialist rival Pedro Castillo to be confirmed as the Andean country’s next president, in Lima, Peru July 19, 2021. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

July 19, 2021

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) -Peruvian right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori admitted she was headed for defeat on Monday, but pledged to mobilize her supporters and lashed out against socialist rival Pedro Castillo as having won in an “illegitimate” manner.

Castillo came out of the June 6 run-off vote ahead by a scant 44,000 vote margin. The official result has been delayed by appeals from Fujimori aimed at annulling some ballots over fraud accusations, despite little evidence.

Fujimori said she was bound by law to recognize the official election result, expected to be announced in the days ahead.

“I am going to recognize the results because it is what the law and the constitution that I have sworn to defend, mandates. The truth is going to come out anyway,” she told reporters.

Peru’s electoral authority said earlier on Monday it would announce a winner of the election this week after it tossed out the last appeals by Fujimori, a conservative who is the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori.

“They have stolen thousands of votes from us,” Fujimori said at a news conference. Faced with the “imminent” naming of Castillo as president-elect, Fujimori called on her followers to protest peacefully.

“We have the right to mobilize… but in a peaceful manner and within the framework of the law,” she said.

The National Jury of Elections said on Twitter it had ruled inadmissible the final appeals presented last week by Fujimori.

The Organization of American States, European Union and Britain have all said the election was clean.

Castillo, if confirmed in time, would take office on July 28 for a five-year term as leader of the world’s second largest copper-producing nation.

A 51-year-old former school teacher and the son of peasant farmers, Castillo has pledged to redraft the constitution and hike taxes on mining firms, but has in recent weeks softened his rhetoric and hinted at a more moderate, market-friendly approach.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Hugh Bronstein and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)