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Leftist poised for power in Peru

Peru's leftist military man Ollanta Humala has declared victory after unofficial results showed him narrowly winning a bitterly contested presidential run-off against the daughter of disgraced ex-leader Alberto Fujimori.

Mr Humala had promised the poor a greater share of Peru's mineral wealth, and in a victory speech to a crowd of more than 10,000 said the nation's impressive economic growth would "be the great motor of the social inclusion Peruvians desire".

He won 51.5% of the vote against 48.5% for Keiko Fujimori with all ballots counted, according to the independent election watchdog Transparencia, whose track record in previous elections is solid.

First official results, with 78% of the vote counted, had the race much closer, with Mr Humala ahead with 50.1%.

But officials cautioned that the count was light on rural districts where Mr Humala fared better.

Rife with mudslinging and dirty tricks, the election was marred by doubts about both candidates' commitment to democracy.

Ms Fujimori's father is serving a 25-year prison term for rights abuses and corruption and she shares the same inner circle of advisers.

Mr Humala has been accused of violent excesses as an army counterinsurgency unit commander in the 1990s .He allied himself closely with socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in his first run for the office in 2006, which he narrowly lost to Alan Garcia.

This time he softened his radical rhetoric and disavowed Mr Chavez, promising instead to follow Brazil's market-friendly model.

He failed to win over the business elite, however, which fears Mr Humala will nationalise industries and expropriate private property. His rise in popularity was mirrored by Lima stock market sell-offs.


From Belfast Telegraph