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Narrow win for Kuczynski in Peru

June 9, 2016

Economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has won the majority of votes in Peru's presidential election, according to the nation's electoral office. Kuczynski appeared to defeat challenger Keiko Fujimori by a razor-thin margin.

Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski Wahlen in Lima
Image: Getty Images/AFP/E. Benavides

Peru's electoral office declared Thursday that Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had won 41,438 more votes than Keiko Fujimori in the country's cliffhanger run-off election, after four days of counting.

The office, known in Peru as the ONPE, gave Kuczynski 50.12 percent of countable votes compared to 49.88 percent for Fujimori.

It cautioned, however, that thousands of unclear votes from Sunday's run-off still had to be examined by electoral scrutineers.

Unclear ballots would be clarified "soon" by the special electoral panels, ONPE head Mariano Cucho told a press conference in Lima.

Kuczynski made a brief, triumphant statement, but stopped short of declaring victory. His supporters, however, celebrated outside campaign headquarters.

Fujimori did not immediately comment. One of her aides, congressman Pedro Spadaro said Fujimori's team was waiting for the electoral office to formally proclaim a winner.

Experts said it was almost impossible that Fujimori would overtake Kuczynski during the scrutiny phase.

'We're close,' says Kuczynski

"There's a lot of work to do. It's still not completely official, but we're close," Kuczynski told journalists outside his home in Lima.

If confirmed, the 77-year-old neo-liberal economist will succeed Ollanta Humala as Peru's president on 28 July.

During campaigning, the 41-year-old Fujimori argued that Kuczynski's advanced age was a hindrance.

In the first round of voting in April, Fujimori, leader of the rightist Popular Force Party and the daughter of the country's imprisoned former president, Alberto Fujimori, had won 40 percent of votes to Kuczynski's 21 percent.

Voter turnout among the 23 million eligible voters was 80 percent.

Authorities had waited for seven results sheets to arrive from a remote valley in the Amazon rainforest.

ipj/bw (dpa, AP, Reuters)