Pedro Castillo, a far-left union activist whose rise has jarred Peru’s political establishment, was declared president-elect Monday night amid deepening social unrest in a country battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
More than six weeks after the vote, election officials certified Mr. Castillo’s victory after rejecting fraud claims from his right-wing opponent, Keiko Fujimori. He will take office on July 28 after winning 50.1% of the votes in the June 6 election versus 49.9% for Ms. Fujimori, who has refused to accept the results.
The election of the 51-year-old head of a Marxist party could result in an overhaul of Peru’s market economy, which has relied on global trade to power one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies during the past two decades.
The rise of Mr. Castillo, a former schoolteacher from the rural Andes, underscores how the pandemic can fuel a backlash against the ruling class in hard-hit countries. His election occurred amid a backdrop of public anger over the state’s failure to deliver decent public services despite years of strong economic activity and a slew of corruption scandals that tarnished several powerful politicians.
The pandemic in Peru has killed more people on a per capita basis than anywhere else in the world and exposed a crumbling public health system. It also drove about 10% of the population back into poverty, reversing 15 years of social gains.