Peru’s Presidential Vote Too Close to Call, Exit Polls Show

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  • Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Keiko Fujimori in statistcal tie
  • Voters chose between former banker and autocrat’s daughter

Peru’s presidential race was too close to call after a late surge in support for Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, exit polls show.

Kuczynski had 50.4 percent of the vote and Keiko Fujimori had 49.6 percent, according to an exit poll by Ipsos. Kuczynski’s lead was within the margin of error, leaving the candidates in a statistical tie. A separate poll by GfK had Kuczynski on 51.2 percent and Fujimori with 48.8 percent. The electoral office expects to announce the first official results at about 9 p.m. in Lima once it has 20 percent to 30 percent of votes counted.

After trailing for a month, Kuczynski, a former central banker and Wall Street veteran, gained the advantage in the last week as corruption allegations damaged Fujimori’s campaign. Both candidates have pledged to continue market-friendly policies that have bolstered growth for more than a decade, focusing the electoral debate on issues such as crime, graft and expanding public services.

Fujimori’s father, former President Alberto Fujimori, is serving sentences for corruption and authorizing death squads during his 1990 to 2000 government. Fujimori’s critics say she’s not done enough to distance herself from her father’s misdeeds, while her supporters say she would be tougher on crime and do more to help the poor than her rival.

The momentum swung behind Kuczynski after leftist leader Veronika Mendoza urged her supporters to vote for him last week, and tens of thousands of people opposed to Fujimori marched in Lima. Kuczynski also took a more aggressive stance in the second of two televised debates, accusing his rival’s party of having ties to the drug’s trade.

Fujimori has denied the allegations and pledged to tackle the drug trafficking and corruption in government.

She won 40 percent in a first round of voting in April, while Kuczynski had 21 percent.

(Updates to add reasons for Kuczynski’s recovery in recent polls.)
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