Peru presidential front-runner Castillo rushed to clinic, suspends campaigning


FILE PHOTO: Supporters of Peru's presidential candidate Pedro Castillo of Peru Libre party, who will compete head-to-head with right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori in a second-round ballot in June, stand in front of the party headquarters in Lima, Peru April 20, 2021. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda/File Photo

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian front-running left-wing presidential candidate Pedro Castillo was rushed to a clinic in Lima on Thursday for "respiratory" illness, forcing him to suspend campaigning, the candidate's party said on social media.

Castillo, a 51-year-old primary school teacher set to face right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori in a runoff in early June, fell ill shortly after arriving in the capital following several days of campaigning in northern Peru.

Castillo's political party, Peru Libre, announced the situation on Twitter but did not immediately provide further details.

"Our candidate @PedroCastilloTe is being rushed to a clinic in Lima due to a respiratory decompensation. Today's scheduled activities are suspended," the party said.

Castillo, who leads Fujimori in opinion polls ahead of the runoff, had planned three rallies for Thursday in Lima, according to his campaign. The two candidates are also scheduled to hold their first public debate on Saturday.

The candidate confirmed the health issues on his own Twitter account shortly after the initial announcement.

"Dear compatriots: I thank you for convening...in Lima. However, due to health issues, I inform you with regret that I will not be able to attend. My hugs and apologies for all those who arrived," Castillo said.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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