Peru's presidential contest remains too close to call

Peru's presidential contest remains too close to call

Country's election authority says less than 1 percent of the vote separates two rival candidates

By Maria Paz Salas

SANTIAGO, Chile (AA) – Days after voting to choose a new president, Peru remains without a winner in a race that is too close to call.

Economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, popularly known as ‘PPK’, maintains a narrow lead over Keiko Fujimori, while the Peruvian authorities continue to count votes.

The National Office of Electoral Processes of Peru (ONPE) published 98.95 percent of the results on Wednesday. These revealed Kuczynski to have a razor-thin lead, winning 50.12 percent of the vote compared to Fujimori’s 49.87 percent.

The final results are expected this weekend.

Peru’s election authority received overseas ballots on Wednesday night. ONPE chief Mariano Cucho said there were 500,000 votes still unaccounted for.

According to pollsters Ipsos on Sunday, Kuczynski won the contest with 50.4 percent as compared with Fujimori’s 49.6 percent.

The close results have seen the two candidates asked to wait for an ONPE count before making any statements.

Fujimori, 41, is the daughter of jailed former president Alberto Fujimori who is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights violations.

A win would make Fujimori the first female president of the country.

Kuczynski, 77, is a former economy minister and has campaigned on his experience, closeness to entrepreneurs and elite education.

The close election surpassed only by Peru’s 1962 presidential contest, when just 12,000 votes separated the two candidates, leading to a military coup and another election the following year.

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