Lima, Peru — Compared with most elected presidents, Peru’s new leader, Pedro Castillo, obviously needs to get his transition team to work as quickly as possible.
On the one hand, in the view of Andean countries, the possibility of a third wave of coronavirus pandemic is increasing. The country’s per capita COVID-19 mortality rate is by far the worst in the world. The highly contagious delta variant has just been discovered in Arequipa, and the authorities scrambled to isolate Peru’s second city from the rest of the country.
On the other hand, the 51-year-old Castillo is a radical left-wing outsider. No one-obviously including the candidate himself-is expected to win. The campaign is chaotic, often contradictory, and delays for weeks to reveal whether he There is a policy team that claims that he does not want his expert consultants to be “stigmatized” by the media.
Even many people who voted for teachers and union leaders in rural schools in the impoverished Cajamarca region of the northern Andes questioned whether he was ready to meet the historic challenge of leading Peru out of the double public health and economic crisis after he was sworn in. July 28 , The 200th anniversary of Peru’s independence.
However, the transition cannot begin until the unprecedented series of legal challenges presented by his opponent Keiko Fujimori (daughter of the tyrant Alberto Fujimori who was imprisoned in the 1990s) is resolved.She made unsubstantiated allegations Election “fraud”.
Although international election observers, including the Organization of American States, praised the Peruvian electoral authorities for conducting transparent, clean and fair elections without major irregularities, they still came.
The 46-year-old Fujimori is trying to cast nearly 200,000 votes, mainly from indigenous and mixed-race voters in the impoverished Andean region, who voted vigorously for Castillo.According to official voting statistics, Castillo has Extremely thin lead 40,000 out of 18.8 million votes, but Can’t officially announce Be elected president before Fujimori’s challenges are resolved—a process that can take several weeks.
For Fujimori, the stakes couldn’t be higher. His father used a military tank to close the Congress before his regime finally collapsed on allegations of election fraud and corruption. He served 25 years in prison for ordering extrajudicial executions. Now, his daughter faces her own trial because she is suspected of laundering $17 million and may be sentenced to long-term imprisonment unless she is exempt from the president.
Her critics likened her strategy to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept his defeat in the November 2020 election, which had a similarly devastating effect on Peru’s fragile democracy.
Fujimori’s supporters were picketed at the homes of the head of the Andean National Electoral Agency and JNE members, and the election court was responsible for resolving her appeal.
They also launched an often racially charged social media attack on Castillo’s allies, reporters and anyone else who questioned Fujimori’s tough strategy, accusing them of being “communists” or even “terrorists.”This prompted the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to issue a statement condemning “hate speech and discrimination” and Urge all Peruvians Accept the obvious victory of Castillo.
José Ragas, a Peruvian historian at the Catholic University of Chile, told Al Jazeera: “The Fujimoriists created this anti-communist idea as a cover for people to vent racism.” “Fujimori’s only one. The way is to take everyone to die.”
As expected by independent observers, when he is finally confirmed as the winner, Castillo will face the daunting task of righting Peru’s listed economy and guiding its polarized society through the pandemic—despite many Peruvians. Doubt his legitimacy.
The country’s economy shrank by 11% last year and plunged millions back into poverty, including more than 1 million children. Although the outgoing interim president Francisco Sagasti’s government has signed 60 million contracts for COVID-19 vaccines, so far, less than 5% of the 32 million people have been vaccinated The vaccine.
But it is not yet clear what direction the Castillo government will take. He initially campaigned on his party’s free Peru’s ultra-left platform, which repeatedly cited Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and Fidel Castro, and proposed to nationalize a large part of the national economy. “Rich countries no longer have poor people,” was his campaign slogan.
Flagship pledges include renegotiating contracts with foreign mining companies, forcing them to keep 70% of their profits in the country and spend 20% of gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare and education—economists have not taken this seriously. One commitment.
However, Castillo may ease his policy and choose a center-left cabinet.
If he wants to avoid a futile and dangerous confrontation with the fragmented, populist, right-leaning Congress, he may have no choice. Despite being the largest political party, Liberty Peru will have only 37 lawmakers in a single house of 130 members.
However, he may also be more flexible ideologically than many in Free Peru. He is not a member of Free Peru, and at the last moment after the party’s founder was barred from running for election due to corruption convictions, he won the presidential nomination. .
“Identity politics has never been far from the surface in Peru. Anthony Medina Rivas Plata, a political scientist at the Catholic University of Santa Maria in Arequipa, told Al Jazeera that the ideological differences in Lima are greater than in other parts of the country. important.
“Castillo rises not because he is a leftist, but because he comes from the bottom. He has never said that he is a Marxist, a socialist or a communist. What he is is an evangelical.”
However, his religious beliefs may also cause problems for his ability to govern. As a social conservative, he opposed LGBTQ rights and abortion, which caused him to diverge from the progressive left, and he needed their support to govern.
Diana Miloslavic, head of the Flortristan Women’s Center, a feminist non-governmental organization, said: “I’m hopeful. He needs to form a broad coalition, and gender issues will be part of it. They are not just for us now. Many people on the left are important, and also important to those in the middle. The demands represented by Castillo must include a feminist agenda.”