Two weeks have passed since the second round of elections and Peruvians still do not know who will be their next president. According to the official count of the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE), the communist Pedro Castillo won the elections, but as long as a judicial battle continues in the National Jury of Elections, we still do not know who will be Peru’s next president.
After the election day on June 6, Keiko Fujimori’s Popular Force party filed challenges for irregularities during the elections. The situation has not yet been resolved and therefore, there is still no official proclamation of the final result.
The only body with the power to proclaim the winner is the National Jury of Elections (JNE), which now has the responsibility to validate the ONPE’s results or modify them through the contestation processes it is evaluating.
Keiko Fujimori has announced that her party presented a nullity appeal with 802 cases of electoral records with irregularities ranging from falsification of data, erroneous sums, and dubious table members.
The 802 tally sheets that Fujimori is requesting to annul contain 200,500 votes. If only a part of these tally sheets were annulled, the result would change in favor of the candidate.
So far, the JNE has analyzed a total of 77 cases of tally sheets observed by the ONPE, of which 70 were declared unfounded, which means that 91% of the cases have been unsuccessful.
Fuerza Popular, Keiko Fujimori’s party, has defended a total of 57 cases of which it has only won three, while Perú Libre has filed 19 appeals and won on four occasions.
After a week of hearings, the results still maintain the communist Pedro Castillo in first place, followed by Keiko Fujimori.
At the time of writing this article, 44,240 votes separate the candidates. After 100% of the tallies have been counted, the difference is 44,058 between the two.
According to the Peruvian Taxpayers Association, there is evidence that casts doubt on the electoral results of the second round.
The appearance of several videos, photos, contradictions between vote numbers and tally sheets, defects in the conformation of the tables, among others, generated that independent citizens and representatives of the Fuerza Popular party gathered evidence to proceed to send nullity requests to the Peruvian Electoral Jury. These nullity requests are not judicial acts, but procedures that are within the Peruvian electoral regulations, and within the established deadlines.
Who will be Peru’s next president?
The process is still open, there is no winner and some protests in the streets demand a more exhaustive investigation of the irregularities found, greater transparency on the part of the electoral authorities and that the results are not rushed without the legitimate process having been completed.
“Legally, Fuerza Popular has an uphill battle because the JNE still does not want to accept hundreds of nullity requests that could change the overall result of the elections. For the moment, with additions and subtractions (even if they consider some nullities as founded), they would not have enough votes”, explained to El American the president of the Peruvian Taxpayers Association, José Ignacio Beteta.
“But there are independent studies that increasingly show with more clarity that there have been many irregularities in the electoral process. Perhaps these studies do not modify the final result, but if they get to the bottom of the matter, they could make a difference in terms of the power and legitimacy that Castillo will have in case he wants to impose a radical agenda to change the Constitution”, said the specialist.
It is not clear how long it will take to know the results of these challenges. However, the decision should come before July 28, date in which, according to the Constitution, a new president should take office.