Hours after reaching an agreement to extend the period for receiving complaints of irregularities in the second round of the presidential election, the Peruvian electoral body backed down and canceled the extension on Friday evening (11).
The extension of the deadline had been criticized by the leading candidate, leftist Pedro Castillo, and other authorities in the country. That’s because the measure would benefit his opponent, right-wing Keiko Fujimori, who insisted Sunday’s vote (6) was rigged.
The poll indicates that Castillo has about 60,000 more votes than his rival, a advantage that can no longer be reversed. But election officials have yet to announce the result as they are reviewing part of the minutes. The delay has increased tension in the country.
In this scenario, the National Electoral Jury (JNE), responsible for analyzing this type of file, decided on Friday to extend the deadline for 48 hours for the parties involved in the dispute – Free Peru, from Castillo, and Força Peru. , by Keiko— to file complaints. Thus, the deadline has been reduced from 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday (9) to 8:00 p.m. this Friday.
The conflict leader and his supporters, however, complained that the agency was acting in Keiko’s favor. On this, the JNE decided that the case was decided by its summit, which refused by 3 votes to 1 the extension of the mandate.
In practice, the decision has little practical effect. Indeed, Keiko had already filed Wednesday – on time therefore – a request for cancellation of 200,000 votes. This request will be analyzed normally and, if accepted, the candidate will return the dispute and be elected president. Otherwise, the position will be Castillo.
It is not yet possible to know when the winner will be announced, but the JNE has two weeks to analyze the complaints.
In the poll, Keiko came out on top, pushed by the voices of large urban centers like Lima. However, as the count also included the ballot boxes inside, Castillo reduced the difference, and in the second (7) he assumed the leadership.
With that, the rival immediately denounced what he called “systemic fraud”. The charge is that Castillo supporters altered voting minutes in parts of the interior of the country. Peruvian electoral bodies and international observers, however, said they saw no irregularities in the election.
The situation has prompted the country’s current interim president, Francisco Sagasti, to call for calm on both sides. “The task of a head of state is to ensure that the country maintains serenity and calm in difficult and complex times,” he wrote on a social network.
Keiko, however, criticized the president’s actions. “Sagasti must not interfere with my legitimate right to defend our votes,” she replied. She also clarified that with his statements, the agent does not help calm the situation.
On Thursday (10), the prosecutor José Domingo Pérez, who works in the Peruvian team of Lava Jato, asked the judge Víctor Zúñiga Urday to revoke the measure granting the provisional release of Keiko. From now on, the prosecutor wants a new preventive detention to be granted to the candidate.
Keiko, who is the daughter of former dictator Alberto Fujimori, is accused of money laundering and receiving money and bribes during his election campaigns. She was jailed for over a year while the investigation was ongoing.