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Leftist joins Fujimori in run-off

An anti-establishment military man who promises to redistribute Peru's wealth won the most votes in the presidential election and will face the daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori in a run-off, unofficial results showed.

Keiko Fujimori, 35, could end up beating Ollanta Humala in the June 5 run-off as he was the only candidate who advocated altering Peru's free market-oriented status quo by giving the state a greater role in the economy.

The ex-army lieutenant colonel also won the first round in Peru's 2006 presidential vote but was defeated 53% to 47% by Alan Garcia in a run-off widely seen as a rebuff to Hugo Chavez, who had openly backed him.

This time, Mr Humala distanced himself from the leftist Venezuelan president, while Ms Fujimori backed away from vows to pardon her father she made two years ago when he was convicted of approving death squad killings and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa had called a runoff between the extremes that are Mr Humala and Keiko Fujimori "a choice between Aids and terminal cancer" given perceptions of their anti-democratic tendencies.

Unofficial results representing 100% of the vote released by the non-profit electoral watchdog Transparencia gave Mr Humala 31.7% in the election - well short of the simple majority needed to win outright.

Keiko Fujimori - whose father Peruvians alternately adore and vilify - got 23.3% trailed by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a 72-year-old former World Bank economist and investment banker, with 18.3%.

In fourth was Alejandro Toledo, Peru's president from 2001-2006, with 15.9%. Former Lima Mayor Luis Castaneda was fifth with 9.9%. Pre-election polls indicated both men would defeat Mr Humala in a second round while Mr Kuczynski and Ms Fujimori would have a harder time.

Mr Humala has spooked foreign investors by promising to divert natural gas exports to the domestic market and obtain greater royalties from foreign investors in Peru's mineral wealth.

"Today we're celebrating because of the Peruvian people's expressing that they want a great transformation," he said in a victory speech.


From Belfast Telegraph