Keiko Fujimori, daughter of an ex-president jailed for massacres, has won the first-round vote in elections that could make her Peru's first female leader. The 40-year-old will compete in a June 5 election.
The daughter of imprisoned former leader Alberto Fujimori overcame attempts to ban her from the race and mistrust over her father's troubled legacy in Sunday's voting.
With about a fifth of ballots counted, state electoral body ONPE chief Mariano Cucho went on television Sunday to announce Fujimori on top with 38 percent of votes. In second place came her business-friendly rival Pedro Pablo Kuczynski with 24.5 percent meaning the two will likely face off on June 5.
Left-wing lawmaker Veronika Mendoza will likely be out of the running though a full count won't be available until later Monday.
But growing opposition to Fujimori means she will be vulnerable in the general election with some polls suggesting she would lose to Kuczynski in a head-to-head matchup.
Some 51 percent of Peruvians polled told Ipsos last week they would "definitely not" vote for her.
The election was marred by deadly violence on Saturday by the leftist Shining Path rebels as well as complaints that half the candidates dropped out or were excluded from the running under a tough new electoral law.
Fujimori and other leading candidates were also accused of wooing voters with gifts. She and Kuczynski were cleared of the charges.
"Peru wants reconciliation and no more conflict," Fujimori said as exit polls indicated she was on top. "We invite all Peruvians on June 5 to opt for change and for the future, because the future of Peru is on the way."
Dark decade of senior Fujimori
Right-wing populist Alberto Fujimori is serving a 25-year prison term for human rights abuses and corruption committed during his 1990-2000 rule
Her father, Alberto Fujimori, has a checkered legacy in Peru. Now 77, he is serving a 25-year jail sentence for crimes against humanity. The courts held him responsible for the massacre of 25 people he said were terrorists in 1991 and 1992.
During the campaign Keiko Fujimori vowed not to pardon her father if elected.
Of Fujimori's two main challengers still in the race, Mendoza represents the biggest shift from the status quo under President Ollanta Humala, who was prevented by the constitution from seeking a second, consecutive term.
jar/bw (AP, AFP, Reuters)