Pedro Castillo maintained a slim lead over rival Keiko Fujimori in Peru’s presidential election on Thursday, with almost all votes counted, but with a chunk of contested votes yet to be scrutinized by electoral authorities.
Castillo, an elementary school teacher and political novice who won widespread grassroots backing for pledges to rewrite the constitution and redistribute wealth, had 50.2% of the vote, maintaining a 0.4 percentage point lead over right-wing Fujimori, or 71,254 votes.
Some 300,000 contested votes are being scrutinized by an electoral jury, a process that will take several days to complete and could delay the announcement of who will take over the presidency at the end of July.
Analysts said that was unlikely to be enough to change the outcome.
Fujimori has yet to concede, though, doubling down on unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.
On Wednesday night, Fujimori, the daughter of polarizing former president Alberto Fujimori, told journalists that she would seek the annulment of about 500,000 votes which she said were suspicious, without providing substantial evidence. She questioned the likeliness of voting tables grouping up to 300 ballots in which she got no votes at all.
Fujimori said those votes should be looked into, adding that she was not accusing the electoral authorities of being complicit in any wrongdoing.
The ethics tribunal of the National Jury of Elections (JNE), the body charged with overseeing the legality of the electoral process, said in a statement on Twitter on Thursday morning that throwing doubt on the results without evidence was “irresponsible