Far-right candidate Keiko Fujimori continues to refuse to accept the result of Peru’s presidential election in which leftist Pedro Castillo beat Fujimori by a margin of 44,000 votes. The defeated candidate has presented a number of appeals which have been overruled, and is now demanding an ‘international audit’ of the vote.
Fujimori submitted the request today in a letter to interim President Francisco Sagasti. Speaking to the press she said, “I believe that, with this request, what is going to be guaranteed to all citizens is peace of mind that finally, the popular will is being respected.”
A similar tactic was used by the Bolivian opposition in 2019 when the OAS published an audit that made allegations of possible irregularities in the election won by then President Evo Morales. The report served to fan the flames of right-wing violence in the streets thereby creating an opportunity for the military to intervene and force Evo’s resignation.
The allegations made in the OAS audit were quickly debunked by numerous international studies, including one analysis by MIT statisticians, carried out by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). The audit was found to have serious statistical flaws and made a number of false assumptions, such as casting doubt on the legitimacy of rural votes that delivered landslide victories for Evo Morales.
The move appears to also be aimed at further delaying the National Electoral Court (JNE) from declaring Castillo as winner while the audit is carried out. Delaying the announcement could assist the far-right in its aims to annul Castillo’s victory.
If Castillo is not proclaimed President by the JNE before July 28th, due to bad faith delays and maneuvers of this nature, the law stipulates that Congress will need to convene in order to elect a President. Right-wing forces currently hold a majority in the legislature and would be able to elect one of their own and call for a new election.
The motions of appeal have already delayed the announcement, and a further delay was forced by the resignation of Fujimori’s ally on the JNE, Luis Arce Cordova, who stepped down on June 23rd. His resignation meant that the Court no longer had a quorum and thus could not convene to confirm Castillo’s win.
Peru Libre lawmaker, Guillermo Bermejo, has labeled these maneuvers as a coup attempt, saying “It’s really serious what is happening in the JNE. The mafia seeks to generate more instability and foment a coup. The people will tell them: they shall not pass! Everyone must mobilize!”