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Saturday, 31 July 2021

Peruvian leftist Castillo inches ahead in tight presidential vote

Duration: 01:43s 0 shares 2 views
Peruvian leftist Castillo inches ahead in tight presidential vote
Peruvian leftist Castillo inches ahead in tight presidential vote

A socialist candidate for president pledging to share Peru's mineral wealth with the poor clawed out a razor-thin lead in the latest official ballot count.

This report produced by Zachary Goelman.

Socialist candidate Pedro Castillo overtook right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori in Peru's presidential contest in the offical vote count Monday, after a late surge of rural ballots.

But race still teeters on a knife's edge.

The count put Castillo at 50.1 percent, and Fujimori at 49.9 percent with over 94 percent of the vote counted.

The tight result could lead to days of uncertainty and tension.

On Sunday night Peruvian TV showed scuffles between supporters of the two candidates in Lima.

The two offered sharply divergent visions for the country that went through three presidents in a week last year.

Fujimori pledged to follow the free-market model in the world's second-largest copper-producer.

Castillo vowed to shake up the constitution and share mining profits with the poor.

But with the final votes being counted, both contenders called for calm.

Fujimori said the outcome mattered for Peruvians of every political stripe.

"There are no winners or losers here.

Finally, what we have to look for is the unity of all Peruvians.

That is why I ask both groups for calm, patience, peace, to those who voted and didn't vote for us." Castillo beseeched his supporters to wait for the last votes to trickle in.

"We need to count our votes, the vote of the province, I ask you for tranquility and unity." Whoever wins will have a weakened mandate given the divisions in Peru, and will face stiff and immediate challenges.

Peru is suffering a sharp economic slump brought on by the world's deadliest per-capita COVID-19 outbreak.

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