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Peru race for presidency: Rival camps hold rallies in anticipation of official vote results

Supporters of left-wing presidential candidate for Peru Libre party, Pedro Castillo, march in Lima, on June 19, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Tensions continue to escalate in Peru's contested election, with rival groups supporting leftist presidential candidate Pedro Castillo and right-wing Keiko Fujimori rallying in the streets ahead of the announcement of the official result of the June 6 vote.

Thousands of the two candidates' supporters marched in Peru on Saturday.

"We are not going to allow them to ignore the popular will, to ignore the electoral result. We are going to defend democracy," Veronika Mendoza, former leftist presidential candidate, said at the Castillo support rally.

Earlier this week, Castillo claimed victory in the election.

Meanwhile, Fujimori, who has pledged to continue to the end, sought to get votes annulled.

As per the unofficially announced results, the vote difference between the two candidates is only 44,058 ballots, with Castillo winning 50.125 percent of the ballots and Fujimori lagging slightly behind with 49.875 percent.

"We are not going to accept our votes being stolen," Fujimori, who is the daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori, told her supporters at a protest rally.  "We want to know what the Peruvians said on June 6."

Fujimori’s camp has accused the rival camp of election fraud.

Castillo, who aims to rewrite the constitution if named president, has accused the Fujimori camp of lying about election fraud.

In an address to his supporters from his campaign headquarters in the Peruvian capital, Castillo called on the National Elections Jury to announce the final results.

All eyes are now on the overseeing body to make the final announcement on who will emerge the winner of the much controversial poll.

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