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Teacher wins spot in Peruvian presidential runoff

by The Associated Press | April 19, 2021 at 2:00 a.m.
Ireño Castillo, the father of Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, shows an old photo of his son in Puna, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo's son, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

CHUGUR, Peru -- Defying the polls, an elementary school teacher came in first among 18 candidates in Peru's presidential election April 11 -- albeit with less than 20% of the overall vote.

Pedro Castillo's result gave him a place in June's presidential runoff against Keiko Fujimori, one of Peru's most established political figures and the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori. It is her third attempt to become president.

Castillo's unlikely campaign comes at a turbulent time for the South American nation that has suffered like few others from the covid-19 pandemic. It recently ran through three presidents in a week after one was removed by congress over corruption allegations. Every president of the past 36 years has been ensnared in corruption allegations, some imprisoned.

Castillo's politics mingle a nationalist, agrarian leftism with socially conservative impulses. He has proposed nationalizing mining, oil and energy sectors as well as deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes.

His chances of enacting his policies are uncertain. He would face a deeply divided unicameral congress that was newly elected on April 11. At the moment, his party has 37 of the 130 seats, though the electoral counting to determine how many seats each party gets has not yet concluded.

Whoever wins the runoff will have to cope with the economic hammer-blow of the pandemic, which prompted a lockdown that left about 7 million people unemployed.

The country has recorded more than 1.6 million confirmed cases and over 56,400 deaths from covid. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, only 1.48% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo embraces his family before leaving his home to prepare for his electoral campaign, in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo embraces his family before leaving his home to prepare for his electoral campaign, in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo hugs his daughter Alondra who cries for him not to leave home, as he prepares to campaign in Chugur, Peru, Thursday, April 15, 2021. Castillo will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo hugs his daughter Alondra who cries for him not to leave home, as he prepares to campaign in Chugur, Peru, Thursday, April 15, 2021. Castillo will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo cooks breakfast for his family in his home in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo cooks breakfast for his family in his home in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo cooks breakfast for his family in his home in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo cooks breakfast for his family in his home in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo poses for a photo on his land in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo poses for a photo on his land in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Ireño Castillo and Mavila Terrones, the parents of Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, pose for a portrait in their home in Puna, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Their son, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Ireño Castillo and Mavila Terrones, the parents of Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, pose for a portrait in their home in Puna, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Their son, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
A woman walks her horse carrying firewood past a home decorated with a poster of Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo in Puna, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
A woman walks her horse carrying firewood past a home decorated with a poster of Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo in Puna, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, from left, daughter Alondra, son Arnold and wife Lilia Paredes, pray before eating breakfast, in their home in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo, from left, daughter Alondra, son Arnold and wife Lilia Paredes, pray before eating breakfast, in their home in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo says goodbye to his neighbors as he leaves his home to prepare for his electoral campaign, in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
Free Peru party presidential candidate Pedro Castillo says goodbye to his neighbors as he leaves his home to prepare for his electoral campaign, in Chugur, Peru, Friday, April 16, 2021. Castillo, a rural teacher, who has proposed rewriting Peru's constitution and deporting all immigrants living in the country illegally who commit crimes, will face rival candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 presidential run-off election. (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)
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