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Fujimori, Castillo neck and neck as Peru presidential polls close | Elections News



Vote counting has started in Peru’s presidential runoff with an exit poll showing conservative candidate Keiko Fujimori locked in a “statistical draw” with her left-wing rival Pedro Castillo.

Fujimori, the daughter of a disgraced former president, had 50.3 percent of the vote according to the Ipsos exit poll on Sunday, while Castillo, a union leader and teacher, had 49.7 percent.

That is within the margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, according to the Ipsos poll.

The results do not include overseas voters, who electoral officials have said could be key in swinging the results.

Ipsos Peru director Alfredo Torres told the America Television station that the results were so close that “it’s not possible to declare a winner at this time”.

Polls closed in the election at 7pm (00:00 GMT) and the first official results are expected to start arriving at 11:30pm (04:30 GMT).

Peruvian presidential candidate, right-wing Keiko Fujimori, waves to her supporters as she leaves the polling station after casting her vote, during the presidential runoff election in Lima, on June 6, 2021 [Luka Gonzales/ AFP]
Presidential candidate Pedro Castillo uses a bullhorn to speak to his supporters, from a balcony of his party headquarters during a runoff election, in Tacabamba, Peru, Sunday, June 6, 2021 [Martin Mejia/ AP]

Millions voted on Sunday to pick between two candidates espousing clashing ideologies in a close runoff election that has deeply divided voters along class and geographical lines.

Opinion polls up to the day of the election showed a statistical dead heat, with Fujimori, who had earlier trailed Castillo, pulling slightly ahead at the end of campaigning.

Hints of electoral challenges

Both have pledged vastly different remedies for rescuing Peru from the economic doldrums brought on by the COVID-19 crisis. The Andean country has the worst coronavirus death rate in the world, recording more than 184,000 deaths among its 33 million population. Two million Peruvians have also lost their jobs during the pandemic and nearly a third of the country now lives in poverty, according to official figures

Fujimori, 46, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, has pledged to follow the free-market model and maintain economic stability. Castillo, 51, the son of peasant farmers, has promised to redraft the country’s constitution to strengthen the role of the state, take a larger portion of profits from mining firms and nationalise key industries. – Peru is the world’s second-biggest producer of copper.

But with neither candidate having a clear lead in the polls, hints of possible electoral challenges by both camps and a deep mistrust of the political class generated by decades of corruption and instability could pose problems after the election.

Soon after the exit poll result was announced, Castillo wrote on Twitter: “I ask our people to defend every vote. I call on Peruvian people from all corners of the country to go to the streets in peace to be vigilant in the defense of democracy.”

Speaking later via megaphone from a balcony to crowds in Tacabamba, a town in his rural heartland in the northern Peruvian Andes, Castillo appealed for calm.

“We must be prudent, the people are wise,” he said. “What we have heard is not official.”

In a short statement, Fujimori said she was reserving judgement until the official results, and also appealed for “prudence, calm and peace from both groups, those who voted and did not vote for us”.

In Lima, Al Jazeera’s Mariana Sanchez said the exit poll had triggered a protest by Castillo’s supporters, who gathered near the National Office of the Electoral Process.

A local television reporter was beaten at the site, she said.

“Everyone is on alert. Catsillo’s and Fujimori’s side vigilant on what is happening with the vote counting. It is a very tight race and people are very anxious here.”

Earlier on Sunday, voting in the Lima district, Fujimori noted that a handful of allegations of doctored voting papers discovered in the capital and the country’s interior.

“We know that there have been incidents today. We hope that the electoral bodies will take action on the matter and sanctions will be issued accordingly,” she said. “I also expect our party officials to be on their guard.”

She praised the “grannies and grandpas” turning out to vote against a backdrop of a second wave of COVID-19 hitting the country and a slow start to the vaccination campaign.

Castillo voted earlier in the day in his rural heartland of the northern Peruvian Andes, accompanied by a crowd of supporters chanting: “Yes we can!”

He previously warned against fraud in the election and said he would “be the first to summon the people” if he saw evidence of foul play. But he told crowds on Sunday he would respect the result, and hoped Peruvians would unify behind the successful candidate.

“If we don’t unite, we can’t move the country forward,” Castillo said.

‘Atmosphere of social conflict’

In Lima, voters made their way to polling stations by bike, roller skates and on foot to avoid long traffic jams that built up as the day progressed.

Among those casting his vote in Lima was Luis Pizango, who said that for him, “transparency” was key to a successful election.

“May Peru win for the good of all Peruvians,” he said.

In polls, urban and higher-income citizens have indicated a preference for Fujimori, while the rural poor largely support Castillo.

Whoever wins will have a hard time governing, however, as Peru’s Congress is fragmented.

Castillo’s Free Peru is the largest single party, just ahead of Fujimori’s Popular Force but without a majority.

“It won’t be easy (for Fujimori) given the mistrust her name and that of her family generates in many sectors. She’ll have to quickly calm the markets and generate ways to reactivate them,” political scientist Jessica Smith told the AFP news agency, referring to a 25-year sentence handed to Fujimori for crimes against humanity and corruption.

If Castillo triumphs, he’ll have to “consolidate a parliamentary majority that will allow him to deliver his ambitious programme,” said Smith.

In either case, analyst Luis Pasarindico, said it would “take time to calm the waters because there’s fierce polarisation and an atmosphere of social conflict”.

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Rwanda repatriates Ugandan soldier




Pte Bakulu Muhuba being handed over to Ugandan authorities

Pte Bakulu Muhuba being handed over to Ugandan authorities

A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier Pte Bakulu Muhuba has regained his freedom after being released by Rwandan security. Muhuba, who is attached to the 32nd Battalion Nyakabande in Kisoro district, was arrested by Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) soldiers at around 2:45 pm on Sunday while allegedly found loitering in Kamanyana-Majyambere village in Burera district, Rwanda. 

RDF soldiers on patrol, intercepted Muhuba who was donning a UPDF uniform and carrying a Medium Machine Gun (MMG) with 100 rounds of ammunition, a pair of binoculars, a cell phone, and his military ID documents.

However, a Ugandan security official at Chanika border who preferred anonymity refuted Rwanda’s claims, saying that Muhuba was with a group of fellow UPDF soldiers patrolling the Ugandan side of Chanika border on Saturday evening around 5:50 pm but stayed behind to ease himself.  

Later, he fell into an ambush of Rwandan soldiers who’d crossed to the Ugandan side. They allegedly placed him at gunpoint and whisked him off to the Rwandan side. On Sunday evening at around 9 pm, Rwandan security officials repatriated Muhuba and handed him over to Ugandan security officials at no-man’s land at Chanika border. 

Captain Peter Mugisha, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner, witnessed the repatriation and hailed RDF for releasing Muhuba unhurt. Such incidents are common along the Uganda-Rwanda border.

A mark stone that separates Uganda and Rwanda

On May 25 this year, two RDF soldiers crossed to Kazaza and Mukayaga villages in the Kamwezi sub-county, Rukiga district. The soldiers, who included a captain and his two escorts crossed to Uganda in pursuit of waragi smugglers. 

The soldiers returned to Rwanda without being arrested by Ugandan security authorities. The governments of Uganda and Rwanda have been feuding since 2019. On February 27, Rwandan President, Paul Kagame issued a travel advisory to his nationals against traveling to Uganda, saying their safety is not guaranteed.      

He accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in non-designated areas. Kagame also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially from Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) which have declared war on the Kigali government.

The Rwandan authorities advised the truck drivers to use the Mirama Hill border in Ntungamo district. The border closure took a huge toll on truck drivers and suffocated business along the border especially Katuna and Chanika town. This led to an increase in smuggling along the border with most Rwandan nationals crossing to Uganda through porous border points to buy food. 

Rwandan authorities, on accusations of smuggling, have shot dead at least eight people including Ugandan and Rwandan nationals. On July 30, 2019, President Museveni told journalists at Kabale State Lodge that they are discussing the impasse with his Rwandan counterpart.

However, to date, the negotiations mediated by the Angolan President, João Lourenço and his Democratic Republic of Congo counterpart, Félix Tshisekedi, are yet to bear positive results.

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India eases COVID rules as new cases dip to two-month low | Coronavirus pandemic News




Many states, including capital New Delhi, ease restrictions as new infections drop to the lowest since March 31.

Many Indian states have eased coronavirus restrictions, including the capital New Delhi, where authorities allowed all shops and shopping centres to open, as the number of new infections dropped to the lowest in more than two months.

Experts have cautioned against a full reopening as India has vaccinated only about 5 percent of its estimated 950 million adults with the necessary two doses, leaving millions vulnerable.

Infections peaked in India in May with about 400,000 new cases a day but that dropped to 70,421 new infections reported on Monday, the lowest daily increase since March 31, health ministry data showed.

The number of deaths went up by 3,921, the data showed.

India has had the second-highest tally of COVID-19 infections in the world after the United States, with 29.51 million cases and 374,305 deaths, according to ministry data.

Authorities in Delhi allowed all shops and shopping centres to reopen although bars, gyms, salons, cinemas and parks remained shut.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said markets and restaurants would be carefully watched this week.

“If we see coronavirus cases are going up, we will have to reimpose strict restrictions,” Kejriwal said in a televised address on Sunday.

Hospitals in Delhi had struggled to provide oxygen cylinders and beds to patients last month as infections surged but, earlier this month, the city allowed businesses to bring back 50 percent of employees and partially resumed public transport.

In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, known for automobile manufacturing, some businesses were allowed to bring back 50 percent of employees and salons and liquor shops re-opened. Bus services remained suspended until June 21.

In Bengaluru, the capital of neighbouring Karnataka state and a major tech hub, traffic returned to the streets as authorities allowed the partial re-opening of businesses though the strict night and weekend curfews remained in place.

The pressure to resume some economic activity has grown as millions depend on daily wages to pay for food and rent.

“India needs to reopen as the challenge of maintaining a fine balance between lives and livelihoods is very crucial,” said Rajib Dasgupta, head of the Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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Eddie Mutwe, Nubian Li Released on Bail




The General Court Martial in Makindye has on Monday released on bail the remaining members of the National Unity Platform who have been on remand since December last year.

The released include Bobi Wine bodyguard Eddie Mutwe,Singer Nubian Li and Producer Dan Magic.

The released are facing charges related to possession of fire arms.

The group had made several attempts at bail but kept getting stonewalled by government prosecution, on different grounds.

In the last court sitting in which teh army court released 17 of the 35 NUP supporters, Chairman Gen Court Martial sent back Eddie Mutwe and his group on remand, on grounds that prosecution was still examining their affidavits.

The group was arrested on December 30th 2020 in Kalangala district, while on the campaign trail with their candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.

“All our comrades who were arrested last year from Kalangala have been released on bail. These have spent six months while under detention for no crime whatsoever. Thanks to our legal team and everyone who has worked tirelessly to ensure these comrades regain their freedom,” NUP said in a statement.

This story is being updated

The post Eddie Mutwe, Nubian Li Released on Bail first appeared on ChimpReports.

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