Five days after Peru’s presidential election, the daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori has conceded defeat, putting an end to an agonising wait for results in one of the most closely contested votes in the country’s history. Keiko Fujimori, the frontrunner throughout the campaign, said on Friday that she accepted “democratically” the electoral body’s results which indicated her rival, the conservative economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had won by a hair’s breadth: The margin of victory was 42,597 votes out of more than 17m ballots cast. Flanked by members of her political party, Fuerza Popular, Fujimori blamed her defeat on the outgoing government, business leaders and the media, who she said had backed a campaign which “sought and awoke hatred and fanaticism, feelings which resent democracy”.
Fujimori had been widely predicted to win the presidential runoff, but in the final months of the election campaign, became the focus of widespread hostility rooted in memories of her father’s autocratic rule between 1990 and 2000. Alberto Fujimori is serving a 25-year jail sentence for human rights crimes, embezzlement and bribing media outlets.
Keiko Fujimori added that Fuerza Popular would act as a “responsible but firm opposition” backed by more than eight and a half million Peruvians – virtually half of those who voted in last Sunday’s presidential election.
In a pointed reference to accusations Kuczynski had conflicting business interests when serving as a minister in a previous government, she said: “We will defend the Peruvian people from lobbies, the power of big business,” adding it would not be easy but her party had the “conviction and strength” to do so.