Peru’s presidential election frontrunner Pedro Castillo was poised for victory, despite legal wrangles over the ultra-close vote count that had ignited tensions in the Andean nation.
“We call on the Peruvian people to stay alert,” Castillo told supporters on Friday night in the middle of last-minute legal disputes over the tight vote count.
According to local media, electoral authorities had considered changing rules to allow right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori to challenge the validity of some 200,000 votes, but ultimately declined to make the changes in the afternoon, following intense pressure from Castillo’s camp.
In a boost for Castillo and a blow to Fujimori, the Electoral Observation Mission of the Organization of American States said the vote was a “positive electoral process” in which “serious irregularities” were not detected.
“The Mission has not detected serious irregularities,” said the preliminary report of the group headed by former Paraguayan foreign minister Ruben Ramirez.
Castillo, an elementary school teacher who has fired up support from poorer, rural Peruvians, had raised concerns about plans by the opposition to nullify votes in underserved areas where he had majority support and sought clarity from the electoral body about the process.