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2021 Peruvian general election

Presidential election
← 2016 11 April 2021 (first round)
6 June 2021 (second round)
2026 →
Turnout70.05% (first round)[1] Decrease 11.7%
74.57% (second round)[2] Decrease 5.5%
  Pedro Castillo en La Encerrona (cropped).png Keiko Fujimori in Government Palace in 2017.jpg
Nominee Pedro Castillo Keiko Fujimori
Party Free Peru Popular Force
Running mate Dina Boluarte
Vladimir Cerrón
[a]
Luis Galarreta
Patricia Juárez
Popular vote 8,836,380 8,792,117
Percentage 50.13% 49.87%

2021 Peruvian presidential election - 2nd round results.svg
Results of the second round by region (left) and province (right). Darker shades indicate a higher vote share.

President before election

Francisco Sagasti
Purple Party

Elected President

Pedro Castillo[3]
Free Peru

Congressional election

← 2020 11 April 2021 2026 →

All 130 seats in the Congress of Peru
66 seats needed for a majority
Party Leader % Seats ±
Free Peru Vladimir Cerrón 13.41 37 +37
Popular Force Keiko Fujimori 11.34 24 +9
Popular Renewal Rafael López Aliaga 9.33 13 +13
Popular Action Mesías Guevara 9.02 16 -9
APP César Acuña 7.54 15 -7
Go on Country Pedro Cenas 7.54 7 +7
Together for Peru Roberto Sánchez 6.59 5 +5
We Are Peru Patricia Li 6.13 5 -6
Podemos Perú José Luna 5.83 5 -6
Purple Party Julio Guzmán 5.42 3 -6
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
2021 Peruvian parliamentary election - Results.svg
Results of the Congressional election.

General elections were held in Peru on 11 April 2021. The presidential election, which determined the President and the Vice Presidents, required a run-off between the two top finishers on 6 June 2021. The congressional elections determined the composition of the Congress of Peru. All 130 seats of the unicameral Congress were contested.

Eighteen candidates participated in the presidential election, the highest number of candidates since the 2006 Peruvian general election.[4] Pedro Castillo, a member of the left-wing Free Peru party, received the most votes in the first round. He faced Keiko Fujimori, the leader of the right-wing Popular Force who had previously narrowly lost the run-offs of the 2011 and the 2016 elections. The official count of the second round by the National Office of Electoral Processes indicated that Castillo won 50.13% of valid votes, a lead of 44,263 over Fujimori, but an official outcome is yet to be declared by the National Jury of Elections.[5][6][7][8] The winning candidate is due to be inaugurated on 28 July.

Electoral system

Presidential election

The President is elected using the two-round system.[9] The first round voting was held on 11 April and allows eligible voters to vote for any viable presidential candidate.[9] The top two candidates who receive a plurality of the vote proceed to the run-off election, which took place on 6 June.[9] The winner of the run-off election and the presidential election is the candidate who receives a plurality of the popular vote.[9][10] However, if in the first round the candidate who is in the first place already gets more than 50% of the popular vote, that candidate will automatically win the election and a run-off election will no longer be needed.[10]

Congressional elections

The 130 members of Congress are elected in 27 multi-member constituencies using open list proportional representation.[11] To enter Congress, parties must either cross the 5% electoral threshold at the national level, or win at least seven seats in one constituency. Seats are allocated using the D'Hondt method.[12][13]

Andean parliament

Peru has 5 places in the Andean Parliament and are elected using a common constituency by open-list.[14]

Date

Early election proposal

President Martín Vizcarra initially presented legislation that would set the conditions for a snap election in 2020. If successful, Vizcarra would not be eligible for re-election.[15][16] The 2020 proposed Peruvian general election would be held on 11 April 2020, to elect a new President of the Republic of Peru, along with 130 congressmen of the Congress of Peru.[17] It was eventually decided to be held on 26 January 2020.[17] Opposition lawmakers condemned Vizcarra's proposal, defending the practice of five-year terms.[18] This constitutional reform was rejected.[17]

Official election date

The 2021 Peruvian general election were held on 11 April 2021, to elect the president of the Republic of Peru, two vice presidents of the same party, 130 congressmen of the Congress of Peru and 5 Andean parliamentarians for a five-year term from 2021 to 2026.[19]

On 11 April 130 congressmen were elected in 27 electoral districts, corresponding to the 24 departments, the Province of Lima, the Constitutional Province of Callao and residents living abroad.[19][10]

The elected congressmen will be sworn in and assume office no later than 27 July 2021; the constitutional president of the Republic and his elected vice presidents will do so on 28 July 2021.[20]

Presidential nominations

Main presidential nominees

Presidential tickets
Go on Country – Social Integration Party National Victory Popular Force Popular Action Together for Peru Podemos Perú
Avanza País 2021.jpg
Victoria Nacional logo.svg
Fuerza popular.svg
Acción Popular.png
Logo juntos por el Peru.svg
Logo Podemos Perú.png
Hernando de Soto George Forsyth Keiko Fujimori Yonhy Lescano Verónika Mendoza Daniel Urresti
Hernando de Soto (cropped).jpg
George Forsyth Sommer.jpg
Keiko Fujimori in Government Palace in 2017.jpg
Yonhy Lescano 2012 (cropped).jpg
Verónika Mendoza Frisch.jpg
Daniel Urresti.jpg
President of the Institute Liberty and Democracy
(1979–present)
Mayor of La Victoria
(2019–2020)
Member of Congress
From Lima
(2006–2011)
Member of Congress
From Puno / Lima
(2001–2019)
Member of Congress
From Cuzco
(2011–2016)
Member of Congress
From Lima
(2020–2021)
Running mates
1st: Corinne Flores
2nd: Jaime Salomón
1st: Patricia Arévalo
2nd: Jorge Chávez Álvarez
1st: Luis Galarreta
2nd: Patricia Juárez
1st: Gisela Tipe
2nd: Luis Alberto Velarde
1st: José Antonio de Echave
2nd: Luzmila Ayay
1st: María Teresa Cabrera
2nd: Wilbert Portugal
Alliance for Progress Free Peru Purple Party Peruvian Nationalist Party Popular Renewal We Are Peru
Alianza para el Progreso Peru.svg
Partido Político Nacional Perú Libre.png
Logo Partido Morado.png
Logo - Partido Nacionalista Peruano.svg
Logo de Renovación Popular (Perú).png
Logo Partido Democrático Somos Perú.svg
César Acuña Pedro Castillo Julio Guzmán Ollanta Humala Rafael López Aliaga Daniel Salaverry
César Acuña Peralta - CAP.jpg
Pedro Castillo en La Encerrona.png
Julio Guzmán en La Encerrona.png
Ollanta Humala Tasso.jpg
Rafael López Aliaga.jpg
Daniel E. Salaverry Villa.jpg
Governor of La Libertad
(2015)
Schoolteacher, union organizer
from Cajamarca
(1995–present)
Secretary General of the Office of the Prime Minister
(2012–2013)
President of Peru
(2011–2016)
Lima City Councilman
(2007–2010)
Member of Congress
From La Libertad
(2016–2019)
Running mates
1st: Carmen Omonte
2nd: Luis Iberico
1st: Dina Boluarte
2nd: Vladimir Cerrón
1st: Flor Pablo
2nd: Francisco Sagasti
1st: Ana María Salinas
2nd: Alberto Otárola
1st: Neldy Mendoza
2nd: Jorge Montoya
1st: Matilde Fernández
2nd: Jorge Pérez Flores

Minor presidential nominees

Withdrawn nominees

Party Ticket Withdrawal
Name for President for First Vice President for Second Vice President Date Motive
Peruvian Aprista Party
Partido Aprista Peruano
Nidia Vílchez Yucra Iván Hidalgo Romero Olga Cribilleros Shigihara 16 January 2021 Prompted upon the National Jury of Elections' rejection of inscription of parliamentary lists past the deadline.[83]

Rejected nominees

Party Ticket Rejection
Name for President for First Vice President for Second Vice President Date Motive
Contigo Political Party
Partido Político Contigo
Pedro Angulo Arana Casimira Mujica Alexander von Ehren 22 December 2020 Did not meet the deadline to register for the election on time.[84]
Peru Nation
Perú Nación
Francisco Diez Canseco Nancy Cáceres Manuel Salazar 22 December 2020 Did not meet the deadline to register for the election on time.[85]
Front of Hope 2021
Frente de la Esperanza 2021
Fernando Olivera Elizabeth León Carlos Cuaresma 24 December 2020 Party did not fulfill requirements for registration to participate.[86]
All for Peru
Todos por el Perú
Fernando Cillóniz Blanca Wong Jaime Freundt 26 December 2020 Party lacked the legitimacy to participate in the election due to unsolved internal legal disputes.[87]

Disqualified nominees

Party Ticket Rejection
Name for President for First Vice President for Second Vice President Date Motive
Union for Peru
Unión por el Perú
José Vega Haydee Andrade Daniel Barragán 29 December 2020 Incomplete information regarding income on the nominees registration form.[88] The decision was ultimately revoked by the National Jury of Elections, thus admitting and registering the ticket on 6 February 2021.[89]
Alliance for Progress
Alianza para el Progreso
César Acuña Carmen Omonte Luis Iberico Núñez 8 January 2021 Incomplete information regarding the presidential nominee's income in registration form.[90] Disqualification revoked by the National Jury of Elections on 22 January 2021, following an appeal.[91][92]
We Can Peru
Podemos Peru
Daniel Urresti Maria Teresa Cabrera Wilbert Portugal 4 February 2021 Unanswered questions about the internal democracy of the party.[93] Disqualifiation revoked by the National Jury of Elections on 18 February 2021, following an appeal.[94]
National Victory
Victoria Nacional
George Forsyth Patricia Arévalo Jorge Chávez Álvarez 10 February 2021 Incomplete information regarding income on the nominees registration form.[95] Disqualification revoked by the National Jury of Elections on 5 March 2021, following an appeal.[96]
Popular Renewal
Renovación Popular
Rafael López Aliaga Neldy Mendoza Jorge Montoya 25 February 2021 Nominee's public statement on donating his salary to charity if elected president is presumed as alleged vote buying.[97] Disqualification revoked by the National Jury of Elections on 5 March 2021, following an appeal.[91]
National United Renaissance
Renacimiento Unido Nacional
Ciro Gálvez Sonia García Claudio Zolla 25 February 2021 Incomplete information regarding the presidential nominee's income in registration form.[98] Disqualification revoked by the National Jury of Elections on 5 March 2021, following an appeal.[91]

Campaign

Campaign issues

Constitution of 1993

Multiple candidates called for constitutional reform or an entirely new constitution to reduce corruption and to bring more prosperity to Peru. Constitutional changes in Peru are overseen by the Congress of Peru.[99] To hold a constitutional referendum, a majority vote from congress is required to approve the election.[99][100] All proposed constitutional reforms would also have to be approved by congress.[99] Following the first round elections and the divided legislators from numerous different parties voted into congress, chances of candidates changing the constitution were limited.[99][100]

Corruption in Peru has been pervasive and was recently brought to attention during the Odebrecht scandal, which involved Odebrecht paying politicians to receive contracts for public works projects.[101] BBC News wrote in 2019 that "Peru is perhaps where [Odebrecht] has caused the most severe crisis" and that "[t]he scandal has discredited virtually the entire political elite of the country, as all major parties and players have been implicated."[101] The Odebrecht scandal led to several incidents in Peruvian politics; the suicide of former president Alan García,[101] the order for the arrest of former president Alejandro Toledo[102] as well as the first impeachment process against Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and later his resignation from the presidency.[103] Two candidates in the 2021 elections, Keiko Fujimori and Julio Guzmán, were also under investigation regarding alleged bribes from Odebrecht during their earlier electoral campaigns.[104][105] Kuczynski's successor Martín Vizcarra reacted to the Odebrecht scandal with multiple anti-corruption initiatives,[106] although Vizcarra was controversially removed from office for his own alleged involvement in corruption and was replaced with President of Congress Manuel Merino.[107] Vizcarra's removal was very unfavorable with Peruvians and resulted with the 2020 Peruvian protests.[108] Merino would be president for only five days and would later be replaced by Francisco Sagasti following a vote from congress.[109]

Pedro Castillo proposed to elect a constituent assembly to replace the constitution inherited from Alberto Fujimori's regime, with Castillo saying "it serves to defend corruption at macro scale" and that he would respect the rule of law by calling for a constitutional referendum to determine whether a constituent assembly should be formed or not.[100][110][111][112][113] Veronika Mendoza also embraced calls for a new constitution instead of amendments, stating "Our current national institutional framework, enshrined in the Constitution, establishes that education, health care, and housing are for-profit enterprises, and that life itself is a commodity to be bought and sold. What this means is that political power is concentrated in the hands of those with money, and not with the Peruvian people."[114]

George Forsyth, the initial frontrunner in the campaign, benefitted from his celebrity fame and not being involved with the traditional political parties being investigated for corruption.[104] Forsyth called for constitutional amendments instead of a new constitution, supporting an amendment that would declare corruption a crime against humanity.[104]

One of the few candidates to support the existing constitution was Keiko Fujimori. Fujimori has stated that she would keep the 1993 constitution of her father Alberto Fujimori in place, instead advocating for the use of a "heavy hand" if elected president, stating: "Democracy cannot be weak. It must be supported by a solid principle of authority."[105][115]

COVID-19 pandemic

Peru is one of the worst-affected nations in the world from the COVID-19 pandemic, with at least 0.5% of the population dying during the pandemic.[116][117][118] The crisis became so intense by January 2021 due to a second wave of infections that ICU bed occupancy in Peru rose to 90%, with medical workers beginning to participate in strikes due to their harsh work conditions.[119]

Forsyth criticized the COVID-19 lockdowns of the Peruvian government, saying that they caused economic distress and that the National Emergency Operations Center (COEN) should be activated for a civil-military partnership to combat further infection.[120] Mendoza was also critical of how lockdowns were initiated, saying that the government should provide support for families affected by lockdowns, promoted a partnership with Argentina to acquire the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and denounced the potential commercialization of the COVID-19 vaccine in Peru.[121][122]

On 24 February 2021, following an approach to advise Francisco Sagasti on the COVID-19 pandemic management in Peru, Hernando de Soto announced the first shadow cabinet in Peruvian history. Mainly composed of his campaign technical team, the main purpose of the opposition cabinet is to offer an alternative for the government to concur and apply De Soto's proposals during the crisis.[123][124]

Economy

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peru's gross domestic product fell 30.2 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the largest decline of all major economies, with many small service businesses that represent the majority of businesses of Peru's economy going bankrupt during the crisis.[125] Medical experts commented that the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in Peru can be explained at least in part due to existing socioeconomic circumstances; nearly one-third of Peruvians lived in overcrowded homes, 72% had informal jobs requiring daily work and many needed to travel daily to markets to purchase food since only 49% of households own refrigerators or freezers; even in urban areas it is only 61%.[126]

Political scientist Paula Muñoz of the Universidad del Pacífico described Forsyth as "a pro-business guy", while Americas Quarterly wrote "his views on big economic issues are less clear."[127] Forsyth and Fujimori both shared his support for the privatization of public utilities and the deregulation of the economy, with the two saying that government intervention hinders growth.[128][129] Fujimori also stated that she wanted to make "the State the main partner of entrepreneurs."[115] In contrast, Mendoza criticized the neoliberal policies instituted in Peru since the 1990s, demanded "the decommodification of goods like health, education, and housing", and promoted the government funding of sustainable agricultural and energy projects, all while protecting the environment.[114]

Immigration

As a result of the Venezuelan refugee crisis, Peru was home to over one million Venezuelans in February 2021.[130][131] At that time, the Peruvian Armed Forces were deployed in a joint operation with Ecuadorian counterparts to the Ecuador-Peru border to prevent the entry of illegal migrants, with the armed forces stating that it was to prevent further introduction of COVID-19 in Peru.[131] Human rights organizations criticized the militarization of the border, saying that they are not properly trained for border enforcement and that it violates the human rights of migrants.[131] Xenophobia towards Venezuelans in Peru has also increased, as some politicians have blamed increased crime on the migrants, although the Brookings Institution and Migration Policy Institute found that Venezuelan participate in less crime in Peru than native Peruvians.[132]

On the immigration topic, Forsyth's responses varied; he stated that "Peru is a generous country that opens its doors to foreigners"[128] while he also supported deploying more authorities to control the border, stating that migrants "have humiliated our National Police" and "We need the principle of authority in the country. [...] We need an empowered police to defend all of us Peruvians."[133] Regarding her position on immigration, Mendoza stated: "Migration must be considered on humanitarian criteria. Peruvians have also migrated." Although some controls should be instituted to prevent criminals from entering, she promoted migrants as "people who can contribute to the country."[134] Fujimori supported increased border security, promoting the use of police and the Peruvian Armed Forces for guarding the border.[115]

Leftist candidate Pedro Castillo called on Maduro to take Venezuelan refugees back to their native country, saying that Venezuelans arrived in Peru "to commit crimes."[135] Castillo described the Venezuelan refugee crisis as an issue of "human trafficking", and said that he would give Venezuelans who commit crimes seventy-two hours to leave Peru.[136][137][135]

Analysis

Ballot paper for the second round.

Party politics

Political parties in Peru have been controlled by individuals seeking their own benefits, usually financial compensation.[138] According to The Economist, political graft was the largest challenge facing Peru instead of the ideological battles in the press.[138] Due to the large divisions of parties in congress, with over eleven parties elected into the Congress of Peru, whoever was elected into the presidency was expected to be weak due to the fractured congress.[138] Political analyst Giovanna Peñaflor agreed with the theory of a weak presidency, saying that the fragmented congress would leave the executive vulnerable to legislators.[139]

When discussing the state of party politics during the election, especially among congress, political scientist Adriana Urrutia said: "Political parties are no longer a vehicle for representation of the citizenry."[140] Urrutia explained that traditional parties are known among Peruvians to represent groups related to corruption in the country, including lucrative private universities, illegal logging and mining, among others.[140]

Regarding the first round of presidential elections, Javier Puente, assistant professor of Latin American Studies at Smith College in the North American Congress on Latin America wrote: "With a baffling number of candidates – 18 in total – the 2021 presidential ballot included convicted felons, presumed money launderers, xenophobes, a fascist billionaire, an overrated and outdated economist, a retired mediocre footballer, a person accused of murdering a journalist, and other colorful figures. The vast majority of candidates represented the continuation of the neoliberal economic model that has been responsible for decades of meager financial performance and unequal growth."[141] Puente stated that only three leftist candidates proposed alternatives to the neoliberal politicians (Veronika Mendoza, Marco Arana, and Pedro Castillo), describing Castillo as "far from being a 'comrade' who will champion leftist demands, Castillo is the new face of an anti-system impulse. [...] Only in a neoliberal system that outcasts any form of market dissent as radical would a figure like Castillo acquire a role as a leftist."[141]

Ideologies

Due to the internal conflict in Peru involving far-left guerrilla groups attacking Peru's institutions which mainly occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, sentiments towards left-wing political parties have a negative stigma skewed against them.[142][137] While campaigning occurred during the elections, right-wing politicians would often baselessly characterize left-wing politicians as terrorists, or terrucos in Peruvian Spanish, with the attacks being so common that they were given the term terruqueo.[137] The Americas Quarterly argues that such behavior may result in less support for the leftist candidate Verónika Mendoza and promote political polarization within Peru.[137] With the ongoing political crisis that saw in the span of two years the dissolution of the Congress of Peru and the removal of three presidents (Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Martín Vizcarra, and Manuel Merino), concerns were raised among analysts about the increased political polarization's relationship with Peru's democratic stability.[140] Lead researcher of pollster Institute of Peruvian Studies, Patricia Zárate, stated: "I think the scenario that's coming is really frightening."[140]

Some scholars have recognized the similarities of Fujimori and Castillo; both are cultural conservatives opposing same-sex marriage and abortion, as campaigning for the second round of elections began.[143] Olga González, associate dean of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College, stated that the situation is more complex than "binaries" between social classes, although she acknowledged that such dichotomies "speak to how polarized the country is."[143]

Vargas Llosa analysis

Regarding the second round of presidential elections, Peruvian Nobel Prize laureate and writer Mario Vargas Llosa said that the candidate Castillo would undermine democracy, ruin Peru's economy and leave the country "with all the characteristics of a communist society" and that "Peruvians should vote for Keiko Fujimori because she represents the lesser of two evils and, if she's in power, there are more possibilities of saving our democracy." Vargas Llosa urged Fujimori to respect freedom of expression, presidential term limits, and rule out a pardon for Vladimiro Montesinos, who served as Alberto Fujimori's head of intelligence service.[144]

Political scientist professor Farid Kahhat of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru stated that "Vargas Llosa has a habit of issuing categorical judgments that later make him look ridiculous. ... Frankly, any Peruvian who has followed Vargas Llosa’s career realizes that he is not worth taking seriously."[100] Vargas Llosa ran and lost against Alberto Fujimori in Peru's 1990 elections,[144] and had previously criticized Fujimori, making statements such as "the worst option is that of Keiko Fujimori because it means the legitimation of one of the worst dictatorships that Peru has had in its history"[145] and that "Keiko is the daughter of a murderer and a thief who is imprisoned, tried by civil courts with international observers, sentenced to 25 years in prison for murder and theft. I do not want her to win the elections."[146] Argentine newspaper Página/12 criticized Vargas Llosa, noting his reversal on previous statements, stating that "the neoliberal right is allied with authoritarian Fujimori", and arguing that Vargas Llosa was "betting on fear and resuscitating an anti-communist coalition."[147]

Rural vs. urban debate

In democratic elections since 1919, eleven of eighteen presidents of Peru were from Lima, even as many Peruvians in rural areas were not able to vote until 1979 when the constitution allowed illiterate individuals to vote.[148] Although economic statistics show improved economic data in Peru in recent decades, the wealth earned between 1990 and 2020 was not distributed throughout the country; living standards showed disparities between the more-developed capital city of Lima and similar coastal regions while rural provinces remained impoverished.[26][100][148] The COVID-19 pandemic exasperated these disparities even further.[100][148] Kahhat stated that "market reforms in Peru have yielded positive results in terms of reducing poverty ... But what the pandemic has laid bare, particularly in Peru, is that poverty was reduced while leaving the miserable state of public services unaltered – most clearly in the case of health services."[100]

Leading to the election, opinion polls showed wealthy Peruvians favored Keiko while the poor supported Castillo, with the latter demographic representing a larger portion of voters.[149] This divide was further exacerbated following the election according to the New York Times, especially as Fujimori grew closer to Peru's elite and European classes.[150] Castillo's candidacy brought attention to this divide with much of his support being earned in the exterior portions of the country.[148] In May 2021, Americas Quarterly wrote: "Life expectancy in Huancavelica, for example, the region where Castillo received his highest share of the vote in the first round, is seven years shorter than in Lima. In Puno, where Castillo received over 47% of the vote, the infant mortality rate is almost three times that of Lima's."[148]

According to historian José Ragas of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, although Castillo was accused of being linked to communist terrorism, "in places where terrorism caused the most bloodshed, Castillo won by a lot."[148] The separation of Lima and rural Peru also led to the underestimation of Castillo's performance in first-round elections.[148] Castillo received a majority vote in all but one of Peru's mining provinces, with researcher Hugo Ñopo of the Lima-based GRADE stating: "The regions that provide those minerals that make Peru rich do not improve the living standards of the local communities, ... Many people perceive that the winners of these three decades are not them, but are the people in Lima and the big cities."[148] Sociologist Maritza Paredes of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru shared similar thoughts, saying: "People see that all the natural resources are in the countryside but all the benefits are concentrated in Lima."[26] In contrast, Fujimori received support from Lima's elite, according to Kahhat.[100] Kahhat said that evangelical Christians, businesses, media organizations, and the armed forces supported Fujimori, with the nation's largest media organization El Comercio group openly advocating for her election.[100]

Opinion polls

Controversy

Media

During the intense periods of internal conflict in Peru in the 1980s and 1990s, the government, military, and media in Peru described any individual who was left on the political spectrum as being a threat to the nation, with many students, professors, union members, and peasants being jailed or killed for their political beliefs.[142] According to some international media agencies, the right-wing elite and media organizations in Peru collaborated with Fujimori's campaign by appealing to fear when discussing political opponents.[142][151] Reuters wrote that El Comercio, one of the largest media organizations in South America, supported Fujimori during the election.[152]

In the second round of elections, Peru's major media networks were accused of aligning with Fujimori to discredit Castillo.[100][142] Some news media allegedly disseminated fake news against Castillo according to the Guardian.[151][153] International media also said that Peruvian news organizations polished Fujimori's image and praised her, as well as assisting her media campaign tactic which included attacks accusing Castillo of being linked to armed communist groups.[26][142][154] The Guardian described accusations linking Castillo to Shining Path as "incorrect", while the Associated Press said that allegations by Peruvian media of links to Shining Path were "unsupported."[155][156]

Censorship allegations

Colombian journalist Clara Elvira Ospina of Grupo who was the journalistic director of La República's América Televisión and El Comercio's Canal N was removed from her position on 24 April 2021 after having served in the position for a total of nine years.[157] Grupo La República shareholder Gustavo Mohme Seminario said that the firing occurred shortly after Ospina had a conversation with Keiko Fujimori and other news editors.[157] One anonymous individual said that Ospina allegedly told Fujimori that the journalistic direction of the media organizations would not favor her or Castillo, instead using impartiality during their coverage.[157]

Mohme criticized the dismissal of Ospina, saying: "I do not want to be a silent troupe of these legal shenanigans that seeks to arbitrarily impose who will assume the reins of the main television channel in the country." Mohme resigned from the editorial council.[157][158] The Knight Center for Specialized Journalism wrote that Mohme described the incident as self-censorship.[157] Diego Salazar, former editor of Peru21, said that the dismissal was "an obvious sign that you are seeking to intervene in the electoral campaign in a way that is not journalistic."[157] Members of Cuarto Poder, an investigative journalism program on América TV, had their letter to the board of directors leaked in May 2021 where they said that Ospina's dismissal "represented serious damage to the work we do and to the image of the program", and accused her replacement, Gilberto Hume, of having an agenda against Castillo and in favor of Fujimori, writing: "Within that conversation it was implicit that (Hume) asked us to support the candidate of Fuerza Popular to the detriment of the candidate of Free Peru."[157][159] Luis Galarreta, Fujimori's pick for first vice president, said that the meeting with Ospina was discussing debates and "nothing more", adding that "nobody thinks of influencing a medium."[160]

Shortly after polls closed on 6 June, the journalists of Cuarto Poder who sent a letter criticizing alleged censorship were fired by La República's América Televisión and El Comercio's Canal N.[159]

San Miguel del Ene attack

Comrade Vilma, with close ties to Comrade José, head of the Militarized Communist Party of Peru (MPCP), a communist organization that split from Shining Path at least ten years before the San Miguel del Ene attack,[161][142][162] called for a boycott of elections on 14 May.[163] During the second round of elections, Vilma called on voters not to vote for Fujimori, stating that anyone who voted for her would be the "accomplice of genociders and the corrupt."[163]

On 23 May, a mass killing of eighteen people occurred in San Miguel del Ene, a rural area in the Vizcatán del Ene District of Satipo Province.[164] Along with the corpses, some of which were burned, leaflets signed by the MPCP were found, featuring the hammer and sickle and defining the attack as a social cleansing operation.[165][162] The leaflets also called for a boycott of the 6 June elections and accused those who voted for Keiko Fujimori and her Popular Force party of treason.[135][136] The military quickly accused Shining Path of the attack, although they were allegedly referring to the MCPC.[142][162] However, no formal investigation had been performed before the links to Shining Path were claimed.[142][162] OjoPúblico described the media release by the military as "an inaccurate reference to the Shining Path."[162]

The attack and subsequent media coverage would provide increased support for Fujimori, whose rhetoric aligned Castillo with armed communists.[26][154] The Fujimori campaign used the attack as a springboard for support, pointing to alleged ties between MOVADEF, a Shining Path political group, and Castillo, attempting to align him to the attack.[142] Fujimori expressed condemnation against the attack during a press conference in Tarapoto as well as regret that "bloody acts" still happened in the country and her condolences to the relatives of the victims.[166] Pedro Castillo also condemned the killings during a rally in Huánuco, expressing solidarity towards the relatives of the victims and also urging the National Police to investigate the attack to clarify the events.[167] Vladimir Cerrón, Secretary General of Free Peru, stated that "the right-wing needed [Shining] Path to win"; Cerrón deleted the tweet moments later while condemning any act of terrorism.[168] Prime Minister Nuria Esparch, who held the position of the Ministry of Defense, condemned the attack and guaranteed that the electoral process would take place normally.[169]

Results

President

Leading candidate by region in the first round.
Leading candidate by region in the second round.
Leading candidate by province in the second round.
Leading candidate by district in the second round.

The first round was held on 11 April.[10][170] The first exit polls published indicated that underdog nominee Pedro Castillo of Free Peru had placed first in the first round of voting with approximately 16.1% of the vote, with Hernando de Soto and Keiko Fujimori tying with 11.9% each.[170] Yonhy Lescano, Rafael López Aliaga, Verónika Mendoza, George Forsyth followed, with each receiving 11.0%, 10.5%, 8.8%, and 6.4%, respectively.[170] César Acuña and Daniel Urresti received 5.8% and 5.0%, respectively, while the rest of the nominees attained less than 3% of the popular vote.[171][172]

In the second round Castillo defeated Fujimori by just 44,263 votes, winning by 50.13% to 49.87%, although an official outcome is yet to be declared by the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE).[5][6]

CandidatePartyFirst roundSecond round
Votes%Votes%
Pedro CastilloFree Peru2,724,75218.928,836,38050.13
Keiko FujimoriPopular Force1,930,76213.418,792,11749.87
Rafael López AliagaPopular Renewal1,692,27911.75
Hernando de SotoGo on Country – Social Integration Party1,674,20111.63
Yonhy LescanoPopular Action1,306,2889.07
Verónika MendozaTogether for Peru1,132,5777.86
César AcuñaAlliance for Progress867,0256.02
George ForsythNational Victory814,5165.66
Daniel UrrestiPodemos Perú812,7215.64
Julio GuzmánPurple Party325,6082.26
Alberto BeingoleaChristian People's Party286,4471.99
Daniel SalaverryWe Are Peru240,2341.67
Ollanta HumalaPeruvian Nationalist Party230,8311.60
José VegaUnion for Peru101,2670.70
Ciro GálvezNational United Renaissance89,3760.62
Marco AranaBroad Front65,3000.45
Rafael SantosPeru Secure Homeland55,6440.39
Andrés AlcántaraDirect Democracy50,8020.35
Total14,400,630100.0017,628,497100.00
Valid votes14,400,63081.3017,628,49793.49
Invalid/blank votes3,313,08618.701,228,3056.51
Total votes17,713,716100.0018,856,802100.00
Registered voters/turnout25,287,95470.0525,287,95474.57
Source: ONPE, ONPE
First Round
Pedro Castillo
18.92%
Keiko Fujimori
13.41%
Rafael López Aliaga
11.75%
Hernando de Soto
11.63%
Yonhy Lescano
9.07%
Verónika Mendoza
7.86%
César Acuña
6.02%
George Forsyth
5.66%
Daniel Urresti
5.64%
Others
10.04%
Second Round
Pedro Castillo
50.13%
Keiko Fujimori
49.87%

By department

2021 Peruvian presidential election results – First round by Department
Department Castillo
Free Peru
Fujimori
Popular Force
López Aliaga
Popular Renewal
De Soto
Go on Country
Lescano
Popular Action
Mendoza
Together for Peru
Other
candidates
Valid
votes
Turnout
Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes %
Amazonas 34,411 26.1% 17,805 13.5% 8,269 6.3% 4,433 3.4% 12,698 9.6% 8,887 6.7% 45,557 34.5% 132,060 60.1%
Ancash 110,620 23.4% 67,394 14.3% 42,312 9.0% 34,562 7.3% 38,911 8.2% 39,786 8.4% 138,200 29.3% 471,785 69.3%
Apurimac 88,812 53.4% 10,879 6.5% 7,768 4.7% 6,531 3.9% 15,649 9.4% 15,368 9.2% 21,179 12.7% 166,186 69.4%
Arequipa 256,224 32.2% 40,216 5.1% 71,053 8.9% 148,793 18.7% 88,708 11.1% 55,269 6.9% 135,448 17.0% 795,711 78.8%
Ayacucho 130,224 52.0% 17,751 7.1% 11,490 4.6% 8,995 3.6% 20,315 8.1% 24,506 9.8% 37,269 14.9% 250,550 68.6%
Cajamarca 232,418 44.9% 54,962 10.6% 31,129 6.0% 25,156 4.9% 38,677 7.5% 29,746 5.7% 105,374 20.4% 517,462 62.6%
Callao 33,750 6.4% 79,699 15.2% 78,066 14.9% 78,920 15.0% 34,965 6.7% 38,233 7.3% 181,634 34.6% 525,267 75.2%
Cusco 232,178 38.2% 27,132 4.5% 29,618 4.9% 40,423 6.6% 60,659 10.0% 123,397 20.3% 94,626 15.6% 608,033 73.5%
Huancavelica 79,895 54.2% 8,449 5.7% 5,060 3.4% 4,591 3.1% 16,727 11.3% 10,091 6.8% 22,574 15.3% 147,387 67.6%
Huanuco 110,978 37.6% 32,827 11.1% 33,787 11.4% 15,822 5.4% 22,565 7.6% 15,556 5.3% 63,688 21.6% 295,223 68.3%
Ica 56,597 14.0% 62,055 15.3% 46,098 11.4% 39,929 9.8% 39,461 9.7% 30,602 7.5% 130,887 32.3% 405,629 76.0%
Junin 131,438 22.9% 80,057 13.9% 52,599 9.2% 54,124 9.4% 66,214 11.5% 52,270 9.1% 137,396 23.9% 574,098 71.9%
La Libertad 90,078 11.5% 131,441 16.8% 95,765 12.2% 84,444 10.8% 47,218 6.0% 37,372 4.8% 296,598 37.9% 782,916 68.9%
Lambayeque 73,279 12.9% 121,263 21.4% 86,126 15.2% 50,087 8.8% 51,467 9.1% 28,866 5.1% 155,480 27.4% 566,568 71.4%
Lima 416,537 7.8% 753,785 14.2% 869,950 16.4% 870,582 16.4% 362,668 6.8% 431,425 8.1% 1,602,623 30.2% 5,307,570 74.6%
Loreto 15,432 4.9% 51,900 16.6% 16,378 5.3% 18,816 6.0% 34,773 11.2% 19,502 6.3% 155,025 49.7% 311,826 61.0%
Madre de Dios 23,945 37.1% 7,278 11.3% 4,041 6.3% 3,996 6.2% 6,601 10.2% 4,372 6.8% 14,341 22.2% 64,574 71.1%
Moquegua 33,665 34.4% 4,617 4.7% 6,832 7.0% 10,183 10.4% 15,412 15.7% 7,190 7.3% 20,027 20.5% 97,926 77.2%
Pasco 34,187 34.2% 12,607 12.6% 8,009 8.0% 5,102 5.1% 11,871 11.9% 6,896 6.9% 21,324 21.3% 99,996 63.6%
Piura 70,968 10.1% 173,891 24.8% 68,316 9.8% 63,842 9.1% 51,223 7.3% 44,576 6.4% 227,714 32.5% 700,530 66.8%
Puno 292,218 47.5% 17,514 2.8% 15,918 2.6% 21,665 3.5% 175,712 28.5% 35,484 5.8% 57,010 9.3% 615,521 81.9%
San Martin 67,000 21.4% 46,699 14.9% 26,561 8.5% 21,825 7.0% 31,498 10.0% 17,122 5.5% 102,765 32.8% 313,470 69.2%
Tacna 64,521 33.2% 9,363 4.8% 17,842 9.2% 21,000 10.8% 28,696 14.8% 14,068 7.2% 38,779 20.0% 194,269 77.8%
Tumbes 7,613 7.7% 36,403 37.1% 8,799 9.0% 7,123 7.3% 7,046 7.2% 5,242 5.3% 26,015 26.5% 98,241 74.6%
Ucayali 26,339 14.0% 40,510 21.5% 14,981 8.0% 11,124 5.9% 14,359 7.6% 15,092 8.0% 65,965 35.0% 188,370 66.3%
Peruvians Abroad 10,602 6.6% 22,887 14.1% 34,767 21.5% 21,552 13.3% 11,617 7.2% 21,185 13.1% 39,146 24.2% 161,756 22.8%
Total 2,723,929 18.9% 1,929,384 13.4% 1,691,534 11.8% 1,673,620 11.6% 1,305,710 9.1% 1,132,103 7.9% 3,936,644 27.4% 14,392,924 70.0%
Source: ONPE (100% counted)

Congress

Results of the Congressional election.
Map of percentage of votes received by the largest party per region.

The Popular Action, the largest party in the previous legislature, lost some of its seats, and previous parliamentary parties like Union for Peru (UPP) and the Broad Front (FA) had their worst results ever while attaining no representation.[19] The Peruvian Nationalist Party of former President Ollanta Humala and National Victory of George Forsyth (who led polling for the presidential election earlier in the year) failed to win seats as well.[19] New or previously minor parties such as Free Peru, Go on Country and Together for Peru and Popular Renewal, the successor of National Solidarity, had good results, with Free Peru becoming the largest party in Congress.[19] Contigo, the successor to former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's Peruvians for Change party, failed to win a seat once again and received less than 1% of the vote.[19]

Congreso de Perú 2021.svg
PartyVotes%Seats+/–
Free Peru1,724,35413.4137+37
Popular Force1,457,69411.3424+9
Popular Renewal1,199,7059.3313+13
Popular Action1,159,7349.0216−9
Alliance for Progress969,7267.5415−7
Go on Country – Social Integration Party969,0927.547+7
Together for Peru847,5966.595+5
We Are Peru788,5226.135−6
Podemos Perú750,2625.835−6
Purple Party697,3075.423−6
National Victory638,2894.960New
Agricultural People's Front of Peru589,0184.580−15
Union for Peru266,3492.070−13
Christian People's Party212,8201.6500
Peruvian Nationalist Party195,5381.520New
Broad Front135,1041.050−9
Direct Democracy100,0330.7800
National United Renaissance97,5400.7600
Peru Secure Homeland54,8590.4300
Contigo5,7870.0500
Total12,859,329100.001300
Valid votes12,859,32972.56
Invalid/blank votes4,863,28727.44
Total votes17,722,616100.00
Registered voters/turnout25,287,95470.08
Source: ONPE, Ojo Público
Popular vote
Free Peru
13.41%
Popular Force
11.34%
Popular Renewal
9.33%
Popular Action
9.02%
APP
7.54%
Go on Country
7.54%
Together for Peru
6.59%
We Are Peru
6.13%
Podemos
5.83%
Purple Party
5.42%
National Victory
4.96%
FREPAP
4.58%
Union for Peru
2.07%
Other
6.24%
Seats in Congress
Free Peru
28.46%
Popular Force
18.46%
Popular Action
12.31%
APP
11.54%
Popular Renewal
10.00%
Go on Country
5.38%
Together for Peru
3.85%
We Are Peru
3.85%
Podemos Perú
3.85%
Purple Party
2.31%


Andean Parliament

PartyVotes%Seats+/–
Free Peru1,713,19616.241+1
Popular Force1,249,93811.851–2
Popular Renewal1,094,70910.371+1
Popular Action964,5639.141+1
Go on Country – Social Integration Party919,2128.711New
Podemos Perú747,3037.080New
Together for Peru736,0016.9700
Alliance for Progress713,5426.7600
Agricultural People's Front of Peru670,3936.350New
Purple Party582,9045.520New
We Are Peru447,4374.2400
Christian People's Party209,6971.9900
Peruvian Nationalist Party177,9841.6900
Broad Front127,8441.210–1
National United Renaissance101,8220.9600
Direct Democracy95,5940.9100
Total10,552,139100.0050
Valid votes10,552,13959.73
Invalid/blank votes7,112,96840.27
Total votes17,665,107100.00
Registered voters/turnout25,212,35470.07
Source: ONPE

Aftermath

Overturn attempts

The election will be flipped, dear friends.

—Keiko Fujimori[153]

Following reports of Castillo's apparent victory, Fujimori made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud and made efforts to overturn the election with support of wealthy citizens of Lima.[150][153][173][174][175] Those among the more affluent, including former military officers and wealthy families, demanded new elections, promoted calls for a military coup and utilized classist or racist rhetoric to support their allegations of fraud.[150] According to analysts, Peru was more susceptible to unrest as a result of Fujimori's narrative since democratic institutions are weaker in the nation.[150] Senior fellow of the Washington Office on Latin America Jo Marie Burt described the overturn attempts as "a slow-motion conspiracy to prevent Castillo from becoming president", with The Guardian reporting that if Castillo were prevented from becoming president by 28 July 2021, a new election would be initiated.[151]

Fujimori's statements about possibly overturning the election were also described as being inspired by the attempts to overturn the 2020 United States presidential election by former U.S. president Donald Trump.[150][153][174][175] According to Cornell University professor of Latin American politics Kenneth Roberts, "[w]hen the credibility is called into question the way it has been by Trump and the Republicans in the U.S., it creates a bad example that other leaders and countries can follow, providing a template to change results they don't like."[174]

Election integrity

To avoid the questions of election legitimacy, election authorities in Peru approved the use of election monitoring.[176] In total, one hundred and fifty observers (ninety-nine in Peru and fifty-one abroad) were approved to observe elections throughout Peru.[176] The origin of the observers were from twenty-two different countries, with thirty-five observers from the Organization of American States, while others were from Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Switzerland, the United States, and Uruguay.[176] Observer approval required providing election authorities observation plans; these plans included protocols to inform authorities of crimes, violations of electoral law or any complaints they collected.[176] Observers were then responsible with providing an official, final report to authorities.[176] According to OjoPúblico, "the observers carry out the review of the activities of election day, ranging from the installation of the voting tables, the conditioning of the secret chambers, the conformity of the ballots, the minutes, the amphorae and any other electoral material, to the counting, the counting of the vote and the transfer of the electoral records at the end of the day."[176]

Claims of fraud

After Castillo took the lead during the ballot-counting process, Fujimori promoted unproven claims of electoral fraud.[173][150][177] In a media event following election day, Fujimori alleged that a "series of irregularities" had occurred, presenting photographs and videos in an attempt to support her allegations, while also accusing Free Peru of attempting to "distort and delay" the election process.[173][177] According to the Guardian, various international observers countered Fujimori's claims, stating that the election process was conducted in accordance with international standards.[173] Observers from the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations, the Organization of American States, and the Progressive International denied any instances of widespread fraud and praised the accuracy of the elections.[178][179] The Guardian also reported that analysts and political observers criticized Fujimori's remarks, noting that it made her appear desperate after losing her third presidential run in a ten-year period.[173] Fernando Tuesta, political scientist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, stated: "It's extremely regrettable that when the result is not favourable, that the candidate talks about fraud. It's terrible, ... They have been talking about fraud because they don't want to respect the result."[173] On 9 June, Fujimori sought to have around 200,000 votes annulled and for 300,000 votes to be reviewed.[180]

In late June, an IEP poll showed that thirty-one percent of respondents believed in Fujimori's claims of fraud.[150] On 17 June, Fujimori repeated claims of voter fraud.[181] On 28 June, Fujimori traveled to the Government Palace and personally delivered demands to President Francisco Sagasti to initiate an audit of the results by international entities.[152] On 30 June, several members of the Popular Force party traveled to the OAS Building in Washington, D.C., to publicize the voter fraud claims, with sociologist Francesca Emanuele condemning them as "coup plotters" during a press conference.[182][183] On 2 July, Sagasti rejected a request to audit the second round of the election, and Fujimori accused Sagasti of abdicating his "great responsibility to ensure fair elections."[184]

Coup allegations

Rumors spread of a possible coup d'état against Castillo, if he were declared the official winner of the presidential election.[153] A letter signed by almost one-hundred retired officers of the Peruvian armed forces was written calling on current military leaders in Peru to refuse recognizing the election of Castillo into the presidency.[153] President Sagasti condemned the letter, stating: "They want to incite top commanders of the Army, Navy, and Air force to break the rule of law."[153]

Montesinos and JNE scandal

On 23 June, Luis Arce, a judge on the National Jury of Elections (JNE), resigned and alleged bias on the jury which had rejected 10 Fujimori requests to annul Castillo votes. On its Twitter account, JNE rejected Arce's allegation of bias as "offensive", and said its judges were not allowed to resign in the middle of reviews of cases, so he would be suspended instead, and a provisional replacement found "to avoid delaying our work." Castillo's Free Peru party said the resignation was aimed at "preventing the proclamation of Pedro Castillo, thereby ignoring the popular vote, breaking democracy and installing a coup d'état with silk gloves." In the wake of Arce's resignation, a lawyer representing Fujimori said that the government should consider asking the Organization of American States (OAS) to audit the electoral process, as was done during the 2019 Bolivian political crisis. The OAS stated that its mission to the country had not found any issues in the conduct of the election.[185]

Two days later on 25 June, former 2001 and 2016 presidential candidate Fernando Olivera revealed audio tapes, alleging that Vladimiro Montesinos, who was the right hand man to former President Alberto Fujimori currently serving a prison sentence for crimes committed during the Fujimori period, was behind the attempts for Keiko Fujimori to be declared as the winner of the second round against Castillo, including through the payment of bribes to electoral officials and influencing the National Jury of Elections. The National Penitentiary Institute and Peruvian Navy announced an investigation, confirming that Montesinos made two phone calls from Callao Naval Base where he is jailed, on 10 and 23 June to unauthorised persons coordinating the effort to overturn the election.[186][187] Further reports showed that Montesinos allegedly was able to make seventeen phone calls from a landline phone to retired military officer Pedro Rejas, reportedly suggesting to Rejas that bribes needed to be paid and that Fujimori's husband, an American, go to the United States embassy in Lima to present "documentation of the fraud" to the Office of Regional Affairs and Central Intelligence Agency.[151][188] According to IDL-Reporteros, Montesinos suggests that the documentation would reach President Joe Biden and that his administration would condemn the election as interference from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, subsequently giving Fujimori's claims of fraud more weight.[188]

Reactions

Leftist leaders in Latin America congratulated Castillo shortly after preliminary results were tallied.[189] President of Argentina Alberto Fernández tweeted that he had spoke to the "President-elect" Castillo and that he wished to cooperate with him.[190] President of Bolivia Luis Arce tweeted that "Bolivia joins the celebration of the Peruvian people", calling Castillo his "brother", and stating that the two would "continue the struggle for a tomorrow with justice and equality for the people."[191] Evo Morales and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former presidents of Bolivia and Brazil, respectively, also congratulated Castillo.[190]

Ned Price, Spokesperson for the United States Department of State, described the elections as "a model of democracy", while also stating: "We congratulate the Peruvian authorities for safely administering another round of free, fair, accessible and peaceful elections, even amid the significant challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic."[192] The European Union described the election as "free and democratic."[151]

Notes

  1. ^ Excluded from campaign.[193]

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