LIMA (AP) – Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo said on Friday that the country needs a new constitution, reiterating one of his main campaign promises in a decisive week in which he could be appointed president.
Castillo wrote on his Twitter account that “Peru of the Bicentennial deserves a Constitution forged from dialogue, reconciliation and commitment to the dignity of all. A Constitution promoted by its noble people and approved in a democracy, without coup threats ”.
He indicated that with a new constitution “we will move forward safely within the democratic channel to end the historical discrimination suffered by our Andean, Amazonian, Afro-descendant peoples and our populations vulnerable to sexist, class and racist violence.
If Castillo is named president, he will become the president of the Bicentennial of Peruvian independence achieved in 1821 after ceasing to be a colony of the Spanish kingdom for almost 300 years. He would also be the first president of peasant origin to become president.
Castillo commented that his eventual government “will prioritize growth that does not depart from social development and the reconquest of labor, ecological, social and economic rights, so that Peruvians stop subsisting and can live with dignity.”
Experts say that, in order to start a constituent assembly and write a new constitution, the next president would have to get significant support from the next parliament to modify an article of the current constitution, promulgated in 1993, which would later allow the birth of that assembly.
The leftist professor came first after counting 100% of the electoral records with 50,126%, just 44,263 votes above the right-wing Keiko Fujimori, who obtained 49,874%.
Castillo’s proclamation as the winner of the June 6 elections was stopped in an unprecedented way because Fujimori asked to annul thousands of the professor’s electoral records, accusing him of orchestrating a fraud, but without presenting evidence. The Electoral Tribunal expects to proclaim the winner in the next seven days.
The United States, the European Union and 14 electoral missions affirm that the elections were fair. However, a group of traditional political parties linked to the center-right have joined Fujimori to claim a fraud that they have not proven.
On Tuesday, Julio Castiglioni, Fujimori’s lawyer on electoral issues, admitted that the annulment requests presented to the court will not be able to overcome the result that favors Castillo.
Although Castillo has not been declared the winner, in practice he is already exercising some presidential functions. On Thursday he published two photos with the Chinese ambassador to Peru, Liang Yu, and added on Twitter that the meeting was “to prioritize the ties of brotherhood and cooperation between the two countries.” China is Peru’s main trading partner and the main destination for copper extracted from the Andes. Peru is the world’s second largest producer of the red metal.
Fujimori, daughter of the imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), has indicated that she will not recognize Castillo’s triumph. If she loses, it will be the third defeat she suffers in her aspirations to be president of Peru.
After the electoral court proclaims the winner, he will rule for five years from July 28.
A photo of presidential candidate Pedro Castillo lies in front of the National Elections Jury on Monday, July 12, 2021, in Lima, Peru. (AP Photo / Martín Mejía)