Peru | ‘Democracy hangs by a thread’

allegations of electoral fraud. Legal challenges. A country divided into two camps. Defeat could lead to imprisonment for corruption.


Janie Jocelyn

Janie Jocelyn
Journalism

The story did not take place in the United States, but in Peru, where candidate Keiko Fujimori on Monday requested an international scrutiny of the June 6 presidential election. The gap between the right-wing politician and her left-wing opponent Pedro Castillo is about 44,000 votes, although the man has not officially declared victory due to litigation.

“The situation is really terrifying,” said Cynthia McClintock of George Washington University in Washington. Democracy is hanging by a thread in Peru, with a very turbulent year. ”

Photo by Jose Carlos Angolo, Agence France-Presse Archives

Pedro Castillo, presidential candidate

The professor of political science and international affairs knows a lot about Peru. She said court challenges are unusual in elections, and the tiny gap between candidates – a fraction of 1% – partly explains the appeals.

“I believe Keiko Fujimori is using a map taken directly from Donald Trump’s evidence, believing that she can manipulate the system to her advantage by making these accusations and asking for scrutiny now,” she explains.

Prison and COVID-19

Critics of Keiko Fujimori see it as a last-ditch effort for the 46-year-old politician to avoid imprisonment thanks to presidential immunity for her term if she comes to power. The daughter of the country’s former leader Alberto Fujimori, who is imprisoned for corruption and crimes against humanity, faces up to 30 years in prison in a money laundering case. The arrival of COVID-19 ended his pretrial detention last year.

Photo: Sebastian Castaneda, Reuters

Keiko Fujimori, presidential candidate, at a press conference, Tuesday

The virus is also widely present in the country that ranks first in the world in terms of the number of deaths recorded per million people. Despite the health status, the Peruvians voted in person, shutting the door on any doubts regarding an unusual way of participating. M team.I Fujimori disputes thousands of postings about other claims, claiming, for example, that the signatures of the actors do not match.

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The United States described the presidential elections as “free” and “fair.” If the candidate asked Interim President Francisco Sagaste for an international scrutiny – without a response at the time of writing – an Organization of American States (OAS) monitoring mission was already present and indicated that no serious voting irregularities were observed.

The diaspora vigilante Quebec

In Quebec, the Peruvian diaspora is closely monitoring the situation. Forty members of the community called on Justin Trudeau’s government in a letter, urging it to acknowledge the validity of the election.

We think this is very important because Canada is known for championing democracy in the world, and it is very important for the country to recognize support for a peaceful transition of power and to recognize the results of elections.

Rossio Mota Ochoa, anthropologist and signer of the letter

Rossio Mota-Ochoa, an anthropologist and signatory of the letter, explains that the situation is precarious, and that Peru is not at the first of political tensions in recent years. In November, three presidents took office in a week, amid accusations of corruption and public pressure. COVID-19 has also led to a health and economic crisis.

We care about the country’s democratic institutions. “The country has gone through a difficult period recently, and democratic institutions are fragile,” said one of the letter’s signatories, Eduardo Malpica, a sociologist.

cleavage

Eighteen candidates ran for the presidency in the first round. Round two saw two divisive candidates go head-to-head, with M.I Fujimori, whose name is associated with conservative populism, and Castillo, 51, an upstart politician, have been described as a follower of the radical left. m . supportersI Fujimori also described the former teacher and unionist as a communist, which he denied.

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The country of 32 million appears to be divided between rural Peruvians, the poorest, supporters of Mr. Castillo, and wealthy urban voters, who support Mr. Castillo.I Fujimori.

“The Peruvian establishment, the most prosperous people who live in Lima, are very concerned about the presidency of Pedro Castillo, who seems to be the candidate who won – and, in my opinion, won – because he is a candidate. The Left Party “confirms M.I McClintock.

Demonstrations were held in both camps to support each candidate.

PHOTO JANINE COSTA, Agence France-Presse Archives

People take part in a rally opposing the possibility of a socialist government led by Pedro Castillo in Lima.

“It’s a small victory,” said Mr. Malbeca. Mr. Castillo is certainly obligated to build bridges to try to build a dialogue with the opposition, and there is no other way to do that. ”

The inauguration of the new president is scheduled for July 28.

If no president is confirmed by that date, the country could suffer further instability. “It will bring a lot of suffering to the country both economically and humanitarianly,” notes MI McClintock.

with AFP, the world, Reuters

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