Pedro Castillo declared Prez-elect of Peru

Presidential candidate of the left-wing Free Peru party Pedro Castillo and right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori were neck-and-neck in Peru's presidential election. (File)

Lima, (Asian independent) The National Jury of Elections (JNE) of Peru on Tuesday officially declared Marxist village schoolteacher Pedro Castillo as the [resident-elect, a month and a half after the June 6 run-off polls.

“I declare Jose Pedro Castillo Terrones President of the Republic, and Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra, First Vice President of the Republic,” the election body’s highest authority, Jorge Salas Arenas, announced during a virtual ceremony.

According to the final election results, Castillo obtained 8,836,380 votes, or 50.12 per cent, while rival Keiko Fujimori garnered 8,792,117 votes, or 49.87 per cent, a margin of just 44,263 votes, said the National Office of Electoral Processes, the body in charge of organising elections in Peru.

After the run-off, Fujimori, daughter of a former president, launched a legal crusade against her opponent’s political party, Peru Libre, which she accused of using “systematic fraud” on election day, reports Xinhua news agency.

She filed appeals to annul more than 200,000 votes in favour of the left-leaning candidate, but the majority of the appeals were dismissed by JNE, an autonomous constitutional organ.

Keiko Fujimori made her latest attempt to challenge run-off results announced by regional electoral juries in the cities of Huancavelica, Cajamarca, San Roman, Huamanga and Chota.

The appeals were rejected, in accordance with a JNE resolution, on the grounds that they were “unrelated to the causes for which the validity of the results can be legitimately disputed”.

She acknowledged the election results released by the JNE, but said, “the truth will end up coming to light anyway”.

Salas said he would “shortly announce the date and place” for delivering to the winners their respective credentials.

Castillo now faces enormous challenges ahead.

Peru is suffering particularly badly from the coronavirus pandemic.

It is one of the countries with the highest mortality rate in the world, and its economy also collapsed by 12.9 per cent last year.

Political turmoil has also marked the past year, as the Congress was locked in a bitter conflict with the government.

Parliamentarians first forced president Martin Vizcarra out of office, and then his successor, Manuel Merino, threw in the towel after fierce protests.

Interim President Francisco Sagasti has been in charge meanwhile.