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Fujimori Leading Peruvian Presidential Poll as Run-off Looms

  • VOA News

FILE - A combination file photo shows Peru's presidential candidates Keiko Fujimori (L) after voting and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (R) arriving to vote, during the presidential election in Lima, Peru, in these April 10, 2016, file photos.

FILE - A combination file photo shows Peru's presidential candidates Keiko Fujimori (L) after voting and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (R) arriving to vote, during the presidential election in Lima, Peru, in these April 10, 2016, file photos.

The daughter of Peru’s imprisoned former president Keiko Fujimori far outpaced her competitors Monday following the first round of Peru’s presidential election, but fell short of the 50 percent needed to secure the nomination.

With more than two-thirds of ballots counted, Fujimori held 39 percent of the vote, beating out former World Bank economist Pedro Kuczynski, who held 24 percent, and leftist congresswoman Veronika Mendoza, who came in a distant third with 17 percent.

While official results will not be released until later Monday, Kuczynski supporters danced in the streets in celebration of the prospect of a second-round run-off election against Fujimori, and Peru’s select stock index rose four points based on the defeat of the leftist Mendoza.

Kuczynski is expected to prove a formidable opponent in the second-round election for Fujimori, who carries with her the baggage of her father’s divisive presidency. Despite her win Monday, polls have shown growing opposition to Fujimori’s candidacy, with nearly half of Peruvians saying they would never vote for a person connected with the former authoritarian leader.

Alberto Fujimori serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses after he ordered death squads to murder political opponents during his decade long rule between 1990 and 2000.

Analysts say if Keiki Fujimori hopes to win in the run-off election she needs to distance herself from her father and his divisive presidency. In an effort to promote a more moderate image, she has promised throughout her campaign that she will not pardon her father and has said it is time to bury the past.

“Peruvians want reconciliation and don’t want to fight anymore,” she told supporters Sunday night before voting began.

Guerilla attacks Sunday killed eight soldiers and two civilians as they travelled with a caravan to provide security for the presidential vote. Rebel soldiers connected with the leftist Shining Path insurgency are suspected to have carried out the attack.

Should Fujimori win the two-candidate run-off vote in June, she would become Peru’s first female president.

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