Peru's presidential election was nearly tied late Sunday, with Pedro Pablo Kuczynski narrowly leading the daughter of disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori.
The results of two quick ballot counts showed Kuczynski, a former World Bank economist, with a slight edge over Keiko Fujimori, but the results were within the statistical margin of error, making it too close to call the election, the Associated Press reported. The vote was largely seen as a referendum on Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for charges including corruption and crimes against humanity.
Pollster Ipsos-Apoyo said Kuczynski popularly known as PPK, got 50.5 percent of the votes, with the younger Fujimori garnering 49.5 percent. Research firm GfK showed Kuczynski winning by 1.6 points. Both counts had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 1 percentage point, the AP noted.
Hoy tenemos una gran misión con el país, seamos parte de una gran fiesta democrática. ¡Viva el Perú!
— PedroPablo Kuczynski (@ppkamigo) June 5, 2016
Peru's election had triggered protests, with demonstrators hoisting signs reading "Keiko No Va" (roughly, "Keiko Will Not Go") and "Fujimori Núnca Más" ("Fujimori Never Again").
Alberto Fujimori, 77, ruled the country from 1990 until 2000, when he fled to his parents' native Japan and lived for five years in self-imposed exile. The authoritarian strongman is accused of organizing death squads and abusing human rights in an effort to quash the Maoist group Shining Path and silence political dissidents. To his supporters, however, Fujimori saved Peru from economic collapse and encroaching terrorism.
¡Estamos optimistas y le damos gracias al Perú por su apoyo! pic.twitter.com/KkkxWezpak
— Keiko Fujimori (@KeikoFujimori) June 6, 2016
Keiko Fujimori, 41, served as Peru's first lady in her father's administration after her parents' divorce. Throughout her campaign she has sought to distance herself from her father's crimes, including by signing a pledge not to pardon him if elected Peru's first female president.
"I'm the candidate, not my father," she has repeatedly said.
But the younger Fujimori has faced scandals all her own during the presidential run. A report recently surfaced that one of her big fundraisers and the secretary general of her party, Fuerza Popular (Popular Force), was the target of an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Peru is the world's largest cocaine producer. Her running mate, José Chlimper, is under fire for facilitating the broadcast of a doctored audio recording in an effort to clear the name of the party boss.
"If Fujimori wins, the big question is whether she'll be able to control her party," Eduardo Dargent, a political scientist at Lima's Catholic University, told the AP prior to the voting.