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Peru's presidential election too close to call, say polls

Both right-leaning candidates have vowed to fight crime and boost jobs across the Andean nation. The vote is being viewed as a referendum on disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori's legacy.

Exit polls in the Andean nation of Peru put presidential candidates Keiko Fujimori and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a technical tie in Sunday's vote.

After officials counted 52 percent of the cast votes, former Wall Street banker Kuczynski held a slight lead with 50.59 percent to Fujimori, the daughter of the imprisoned ex-president, with 49.41 percent.

Addressing cheering supporters from the balcony of his campaign headquarters, the
77-year-old Kuczynski said late on Sunday: "We're going to have a government built on consensus. No more low blows or fights."

But Fujimori showed no sign of conceding defeat. "We're going to wait with prudence because all night votes will be coming in from the provinces, from abroad and from the rural voters of deep Peru," she said.

Both candidates are fiscal conservatives who have said they would maintain a free-market model, although they widely differ on approaches. They have also vowed to fight crime and create jobs in the Andean nation.

But the runoff election has raised the specter of Peru's dark past. Civil conflict between 1980 and 2000 that involved leftist militants killed an estimated 70,000 people in the country.

Fujimori's political party holds a majority in Peru's congress, which could pose problems for a Kuczynski presidency

Fujimori's political party holds a majority in Peru's congress, which could pose problems for a Kuczynski presidency

A tainted legacy?

Fujimori's father, Alberto Fujimori, served as Peru's president from 1990 to 2000, during which he enforced massacres of alleged terrorists. He is serving a 25-year prison term for corruption and human rights abuses.

"We want no more dictatorships. There was a lot of repression and a lot of people died and disappeared," said 61-year-old Enrique Castillo, who was in line to vote at a polling station.

However, Fujimori's supporters see her as the answer to a wave of violent crime in Peru, a major cocaine-producing country.

"Her father did good things too against crime," said 45-year-old administrative worker Silvia Cuadros before casting her vote.

"Our parents may make mistakes, but that does not mean their children will do the same," Cuadros added.

The EU and the Organization of American States (OAS) deployed monitoring missions to observe the runoff elections in Peru, home to about 23 million eligible voters.

Watch video 01:24

Tight race for Peru's presidency | DW News

ls/bw (EFE, AFP, Reuters)

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