Voters will choose between a former army officer who has vowed to redistribute the nation's wealth and the daughter of the incarcerated ex-president Alberto Fujimori when they vote for a new leader in a June run-off election, official results released yesterday showed.
Ollanta Humala, a former lieutenant-colonel in the army, also won the first round in Peru's 2006 presidential vote but was defeated in a run-off by Alan Garcia. The vote was widely seen as a rebuff to leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who had openly backed Mr Humala.
Keiko Fujimori could repeat history and end up beating Mr Humala in the 5 June ballot because, like the other major candidates, she rejects his platform of making structural changes to give the state a greater role in the economy, arguing that it would scare away foreign investors.
This time, Mr Humala distanced himself from Mr Chavez, while Ms Fujimori backed away from the vows she made two years ago to pardon her father after he was convicted of approving death-squad killings and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
With 75 per cent of the vote counted, official results gave Mr Humala 29.3 per cent – well short of the simple majority needed to win outright. Ms Fujimori received 22.9 per cent, trailed by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a 72-year-old former World Bank economist, with 21 per cent.