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Leftist Castillo leads presidential polls in Peru against right-wing Fujimori

The leftist candidate Pedro Castillo would win the June ballot for the presidency of Peru against the right-wing Keiko Fujimori, according to a poll released this Sunday, the third that places him at the forefront of electoral preferences.

Castillo, a rural school teacher, would obtain 41.5% of the votes in the second round, while Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori, would obtain 21.5%, according to the survey of the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) released by the newspaper La República.

21.2% of respondents would vote in a white or flawed vote, while 13.5% do not define their option. The poll questioned 1,367 people from April 17 to 21 and its margin of error is 2.65%.

The IEP poll is the third since the general elections of April 11, in which Castillo hit the ground running by dominating the first round with 18.92% of the votes, followed by Fujimori, with 13.40%, among a total out of 18 candidates, without favorites.

The Peru Libre candidate led a poll by the Datum company on Wednesday, where he obtained 41% of the preferences against 26% of the leader of Fuerza Popular.

In an Ipsos poll on April 17, a week after the first vote, Castillo concentrated 42% of the voting intention, while Fujimori received 31%.

The country, in recession due to the pandemic and politically unstable since 2016 – it had three presidents in five days last November – is now heading for a ballot between two candidates located in the antipodes and who together obtained only 32% of the votes in the first round.

Keiko Fujimori, 45, defends the free market while Castillo, 51, advocates an active economic role for the state, including with nationalizations.

Keiko, who comes to the ballot for the third time, has said that, if she becomes president, she will pardon her father, who is serving a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity and corruption during his government (1990-2000).

She herself faces a request from the prosecution for 30 years in prison in an upcoming trial for alleged money laundering and other charges in the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht scandal.

Political adversaries have tried to link Castillo with Venezuela under the administration of Nicolás Maduro. In Peru, there are more than a million Venezuelans who escaped the crisis in that country.

The Peruvian Nobel Prize winner for literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, reiterated on Saturday his support for Fujimori, despite their political differences, and emphasized that if Castillo wins it would be a catastrophe for his country.

“It is very important that Peru does not fall into the catastrophe that is Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, countries that have really reached a truly critical situation,” he added.

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