Pedro Castillo declared President-elect of Peru

The National Elections Jury of Peru has officially declared Marxist village schoolteacher Pedro Castillo as the President-elect, more than a month after a runoff was held on June 6.

The announcement was made by the election board’s highest authority, Jorge Salas Arenas, during a ceremony that took place virtually late Monday night, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I declare Jose Pedro Castillo Terrones President of the Republic, and Dina Ercilia Boluarte Zegarra, First Vice President of the Republic,” said Salas.

According to the final election results, Castillo obtained 8,836,380 votes, or 50.12 per cent, while his rival Keiko Fujimori garnered 8,792,117 votes, or 49.87 per cent.

Castillo wants to build a socialist state, tighten control of the media and abolish the constitutional court if he wins.

Fujimori, who in case of victory plans to pardon her father, former authoritarian President Alberto Fujimori, stood for a neo-liberal economic policy and a hard-line security strategy.

Castillo now faces enormous challenges ahead.

Peru is suffering particularly badly from the coronavirus pandemic.

It is one of the countries with the highest mortality rate in the world, and its economy also collapsed by 12.9 per cent last year.

Political turmoil has also marked the past year, as the Congress was locked in a bitter conflict with the government.

Parliamentarians first forced president Martin Vizcarra out of office, and then his successor, Manuel Merino, threw in the towel after fierce protests.

Interim President Francisco Sagasti has been in charge meanwhile.