(CNN Español) – Peru’s presidential candidate, Pedro Castillo, is ahead of Keiko Fujimori, the right-wing candidate, with the slightest difference in preliminary results, according to the National Office for Electoral Processes (ONPE) in its latest report.
With 94% of the records processed and 92% of the votes counted, Castillo got 50.07% of the vote, while Fujimori got 49.92%.
The participation rate was 77%.
Polls before the vote showed a higher percentage of voting intentions among urban voters for Fujimori, the daughter of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. Meanwhile, Castillo, a high school teacher who had never held public office, maintained a stronger appeal among rural voters.
In the last presidential election of 2016, Fujimori lost to former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski with 49.9% of the vote to Kuczynski’s 50.1%.
Peruvian voters went to the polls at a time of extreme political instability. Interim President Francisco Sagaste became the country’s fourth president in less than five years after Congress voted to impeach famed former president Martin Vizcara and Vizcara’s replacement, Manuel Merino, resigned.
Peruvians are deeply concerned about how the country will recover from the pandemic, which has exposed rampant inequality that persists despite significant increases in gross domestic product (GDP) and lower average poverty rates in the United States. past decades. Both candidates proposed reforms related to the key mining sector, but Fujimori is relying on government benefit packages to attract voters, while Castillo has proposed structural changes to the economy.
Fujimori promised massive spending to compensate every Peruvian family who lost a person to COVID-19 with 10,000 insoles ($2,600), as well as 10,000 million insols ($2,600 million) in small business loans to aid recovery. His promises include giving free water to communities without major supply networks and awarding two million title deeds.
Meanwhile, Castillo promised to cancel major mining projects in Conga and Tingo Maria, reform the pension system, decentralize public universities and create a Ministry of Science and Technology to boost industrialization.
“We will restore the wealth by renegotiating contracts with the big companies, with the mining companies taking the country’s wealth,” he said. “How can it be that in such a rich country there is so much misery, so much inequality, and only the old earn money, even people who never work?”