Peru leader poised to win amid fraud claims

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The Independent US

With nine per cent of votes still to be counted in Peru's presidential election, Alberto Fujimori needed only a few more ballots yesterday to win re-election but such a result could spark protests, because of allegations of fraud.

His rival, Alejandro Toledo, who since Sunday's vote has staged demonstrations alleging corruption, said there could be civil disorder and that he would not recognise the result if Mr Fujimori passed the 50 per cent needed to avert a run-off.

Mr Fujimori, who has won plaudits from the electorate for defeating rebels and hyperinflation, had 49.79 per cent support. During his campaign he confronted voter fatigue with handouts of food and land.

In a conclusion that was shared by the United States, the local independent election monitor Transparency, a pro-democracy body funded by Western nations, said its sample of under 1 per cent of the vote indicated that Mr Fujimori should face a run-off.

Monitors were investigating fraud accusations, including allegations that ballot sheets at several stations had been tampered with and that they lacked a ballot box for Mr Toledo, a 54-year-old free marketeer with populist touches.

Voters in Lima complained to a television station that when they tried to vote they were told their ballots had already been cast, apparently by Fujimori supporters armed with false identity papers.(Reuters)