The Organization of American States election observation mission said the vote was a “positive electoral process” and that no “serious irregularities” were detected.
Peruvian presidential favorite Pedro Castillo was on the verge of victory, despite legal wrangling over the ultra-tight vote count that had sparked tensions in the Andean nation.
“We call on the Peruvian people to remain vigilant,” Castillo told supporters Friday night amid last-minute legal disputes over the tight tally of the votes.
According to local media, election officials had considered changing the rules to allow their right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori to challenge the validity of some 200,000 votes, but ultimately refused to make the changes in the afternoon. under intense pressure from the Castillo camp.
In a push for Castillo and a blow to Fujimori, the Organization of American States election observation mission said the vote was a “positive electoral process” in which “serious irregularities” did not exist. been detected.
“The Mission did not detect any serious irregularities”, indicates the preliminary report of the group led by the former Paraguayan Minister of Foreign Affairs Ruben Ramirez.
Castillo is ahead of Fujimori by only 60,000 votes with 99.6% of the votes counted.
Castillo, an elementary school teacher who won the support of the poorest rural Peruvians, had raised concerns over the opposition’s plans to overturn votes in underserved areas where he had the support of the majority and requested clarification from the electorate on the process.
The comments highlighted rising tensions in the copper-rich nation that has been on the brink since last Sunday’s vote.
Castillo holds 50.2% of the vote, just ahead of Fujimori, who made unfounded fraud allegations.
Peru’s electoral jury did not comment during the day on media reports that it was considering changing the rules.
Vladimir Cerron, leader of Castillo’s Free Peru Party, was even more vehement, saying on Twitter that “the people must rise up” to defend the vote. He had previously claimed Castillo’s victory in the knife election.
The country’s electoral authority has yet to confirm a winner, but most observers and some left-wing regional leaders, notably from Argentina and Bolivia, have praised Castillo as the winner, prompting protests from the Peruvian government.
“Several presidents around the world are congratulating themselves on Pedro Castillo’s victory, in other words, he has strong international legitimacy,” Cerron wrote.
Fujimori has yet to concede the election and his supporters have called for demonstrations against the result.
The daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori, she doubled down on unfounded fraud allegations, and her party members said they would not give in until all votes and appeals were counted, which could still take days.
Castillo himself also stopped before proclaiming himself the winner.
The election bitterly divided Peruvians between social classes, with high-income citizens supporting Fujimori while many low-income Peruvians supported Castillo, including in major mining areas of the country, the world’s second largest producer of copper.
Castillo was not a member of the Free Peru Party prior to his presidential bid. It is still unclear whether he would adopt his far-left stance for the economy if he were in power.
In recent days, he has recruited as adviser Pedro Francke, a moderate left economist.