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Peru Leftist Presidential Candidate Castillo Eyes Election

A supporter of presidential candidate Pedro Castillo wears a mask with Castillo's face during a march in Lima, Peru, June 9, 2021.

Leftist Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo is claiming victory in Peru’s national election, but his conservative rival, Keiko Fujimori, is suggesting hundreds of thousands of ballots cast in this week’s runoff election may have been fraudulently cast.

Fujimori called on the country’s National Jury of Elections to throw out 200,000 votes cast in Sunday’s runoff between her and Castillo, and review another 300,000 votes, despite failing to provide any evidence to back up her claims.

"It's not about my candidacy, but about respecting the vote of millions of Peruvians who want their vote to be respected and for this process to be transparent and clean,” Fujimori told reporters Wednesday in Lima.

Castillo holds a very narrow lead over Fujimori, 50.2 % to 49.9 %, or just over 74,000 votes, with nearly all ballots counted.

Fujimori, a former congresswoman, was imprisoned as part of a corruption investigation. She is the daughter of Alberto Fujimori, a former president serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and the killing of 25 people. She has promised economic benefits to families with victims of COVID-19.

Castillo was a schoolteacher in the country's third-poorest district before entering politics. He has said that he is committed to rewriting the constitution, which was approved during the rule of Fujimori's father.