- Kuczynski Ahead of Mendoza for Second Place: Early Count
- Electoral office comments after counting 20% of ballots
Keiko Fujimori won the most votes in the first round of Peru’s presidential election, with a partial count of the ballots indicating she will face Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a second round.
Fujimori had 38 percent of the vote with 20 percent of the ballots counted, the electoral office said, less than the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff vote on June 5. Kuczynski had 25.5 percent, while Veronika Mendoza had 16.2 percent. A partial quick count of vote samples from polling stations nationwide by two polling companies also showed Kuczynski ahead of Mendoza, though by a smaller margin.
Fujimori’s first-round victory was long expected and attention now turns to which of the two runners-up she’ll face in the runoff. Peruvian bonds and the currency fell last week following a late surge in support for Mendoza, who has proposed curbs on the mining industry, increasing corporate taxes and renegotiating natural gas export contracts. Kuczynski is the more market-friendly candidate, backing a cut to sales taxes and a clampdown on the informal economy to boost tax revenue.
The sol fell 0.4 percent against the U.S. dollar last week after plunging the most since 2013 on April 1 when a poll showed Mendoza catching up with Kuczynski.
The race for runner-up was thrown open last month after two popular candidates were disqualified, giving way to the surge in support for Mendoza, 35, a first-term congresswoman. As recently as December, Mendoza had only 2 percent of voter support, according to opinion polls.
Polling stations opened at 8 a.m. and closed at 4 p.m local time. Close to 23 million Peruvians were registered to cast ballots to elect a successor to President Ollanta Humala, who is barred from running for a consecutive term, and 130 lawmakers to Peru’s unicameral Congress.
Fujimori, 40, is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who dissolved congress, vanquished Maoist guerrillas and then fled the country amid corruption allegations. She has pledged to clamp down on crime while maintaining the free market model installed by her father. Alberto Fujimori is currently imprisoned on the outskirts of Lima after being sentenced in 2009 to 25 years for ordering the killing of suspected terrorist sympathizers.
That era was recalled on Saturday when at least three soldiers were killed after their patrol was ambushed in the valley of the Apurimac, Ene y Mantaro rivers, a region marked by the presence of drug traffickers and the remnants of the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla movement.
Peru’s republican history has been marked by a series of military coups, making this the first time since winning independence from Spain 195 years ago that the country is holding a fourth consecutive democratic election.