LIMA (Reuters) -- Peruvian socialist Pedro Castillo widened his lead against right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori in the country’s presidential vote, but she said she will not concede yet and alleged “irregularities,” although without showing much proof.
The official count from Sunday’s election showed outsider candidate Castillo with 50.3% and Fujimori on 49.7%, with around 95% of the vote counted. The leftist candidate had trailed overnight, but started to take the lion’s share of ballots as the count progressed, on the back of a late surge of rural votes.
Fujimori at a press conference asked her base to bring forth allegations of fraud, if they exist, on social media.
Castillo’s party, Free Peru, responded on Twitter that it “rejected” the allegations.
Analysts had expected that a close result could lead to days of uncertainty, tension and perhaps some level of unrest, but the claims now add fuel to that scenario. Earlier on Monday, Castillo’s party had said it had also been the victim of attempts of fraud, without giving specifics.
The vote underscored a sharp divide between the capital city Lima and the nation’s rural hinterland that has propelled Castillo’s unexpected rise.
Castillo, the son of peasant farmers, has pledged to shake up the Andean nation’s constitution and mining laws, spooking copper producers and local markets, which fell sharply in trading on Monday as he gained in the race.
“All we want right now is democracy, that everything be democratic. That whoever wins, the other accepts it and doesn’t start any trouble,” said Lili Rocha, a voter in Lima after some scuffles broke out overnight.
As results trickled in on Sunday evening, 51-year-old Castillo had rallied supporters to “defend the vote” when an exit poll had shown him behind, though he later called for calm.
Fujimori, 46, the daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is in prison for human rights abuses and corruption, also appealed for “prudence, calm and peace from both groups.”
Castillo’s Free Peru party said on Twitter that the candidate, who had been in his northern rural home district to vote, had traveled to Lima to “safeguard the will of the people”, though a planned press conference was later called off.