Peru holds its breath for election results

Peru will have to wait several more days to learn who won its photo-finish presidential run-off, Mariano Cucho, the head of the country's electoral office said Monday.

With 92.6 per cent of the votes counted, Liberal economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was ahead with 50.3 per cent, with right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori on 49.7 per cent, according to official results.

Kuczynski's advantage translates to slightly more than 103,000 votes. Some 800,000 ballots remain to be tallied, most coming from Peruvians living abroad.

Cucho said it could take until as late as Thursday for those ballots to arrive. The results of the election could be announced by Friday, he said.

An additional nearly 2,000 ballots are contested and await a judge's ruling.

Peru's electoral authority ONPE has drawn criticism for its ballot counting system, which requires a physical count that has markedly slowed the process.

Both candidates asked supporters to wait calmly for the results. Kuczynski said that if he were announced the winner, he would push for consensus and work with all parties.

In the new parliament Kuczynski's coalition only has 18 of the 130 seats, while Fujimori has the majority with 73. Fujimori said she was optimistic "on the road to victory."

In the first round of voting in April, Fujimori, leader of the rightist Popular Force Party and the daughter of the country's imprisoned former president, won 40 per cent of votes to Kuczynski's 21 per cent.

But Kuczynski has rallied support from former rivals concerned about how Fujimori might continue the divisive legacy of her father, Alberto Fujimori.

The elder Fujimori ruled Peru with an iron fist from 1990-2000. He was convicted on human rights and corruption charges and is serving 25 years in prison. Supporters credit him with cracking down on the Maoist rebel group Shining Path and reforming the country's economy.

Kuczynski, 77, leads the liberal Peruvians for Change party.

Supporters laud his long experience in government as an economy and energy minister and cabinet chief, but he faces criticism for his advanced age and work as a lobbyist and investment banker in the United States.

The winner is expected to take office July 28.

Last update: Tue, 07/06/2016 - 11:09
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