Peru Election for the 5th President in 5 Years Goes to Runoff

Peru Election for the 5th President in 5 Years Goes to Runoff

Peru Election for the 5th President in 5 Years Goes to Runoff Photo

LIMA, Peru — Peru’s presidential election is headed for a runoff, with Pedro Castillo, a far-left former union activist and teacher, in the lead, according to data released Monday by the country’s electoral body.

Mr. Castillo, a social conservative, was one of 18 candidates, and tapped into a wave of anti-establishment sentiment in an election characterized by widespread frustration with the political system.

He is likely headed into a runoff with Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of the jailed former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori, according to a survey of electoral tallies by the firm Ipsos for a local television channel. Trailing behind Ms. Fujimori is an ultraconservative, Rafael López Aliaga.

Either pairing would set the stage for a highly polarized second-round election, the results of which could steer the country in radically different directions.

“This is the vote of a country tired, depressed, frustrated, and also fed up,” Fernando Tuesta, a Peruvian political analyst, said in a statement on Monday.

The election comes at a low point for Peru. Over the last five years, the country cycled through four presidents and two Congresses and witnessed repeated clashes between the legislative and executive branches.

Three former presidents have spent time in jail during bribery investigations, including one candidate in this year’s election; a fourth killed himself to avoid arrest; and a fifth, Martín Vizcarra, one of the most popular recent leaders, was impeached in November.

His replacement, who lasted less than a week in office, is under investigation in connection with the fatal shootings of two young men at protests, which led to his resignation.

With 84 percent of the votes tallied, Mr. Castillo was leading with 18.5 percent of the vote on Monday afternoon, more than five points ahead of his closest rival.

Mr. Castillo, 51, wants to nationalize the country’s natural resources to help pay for investments in health care and education; promises to have a top court elected by popular mandate; and is proposing a new constitution to favor ordinary Peruvians and not business interests.

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