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Americas

Left-wing Humala wins presidential election

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2011-06-07

Leftist candidate Ollanta Humala (pictured right) won Sunday's presidential elections in Peru, with a narrow lead over rival Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the disgraced former president.

Ollanta Humala won  Peru’s runoff presidential poll, after an official with a narrow lead over rival Keiko Fujimori.

Humala, a left-wing former commander, won more than 51.5 percent support while his right-wing rival Fujimori concended defeat on Mo had Peru’s national election board (ONPE) said 85% of Peru’s 20 million voters had participated in the poll.

"The Peruvian people have made their verdict. It has been a civic act and I thank you for the vote of confidence,” Humala said in a short speech at a Lima hotel where his campaign team awaited the results of the vote on Sunday.

According to Venezuelan television Telesur, candidate Keiko Fujimori quietly left the hotel where her camp had assembled. The 35-year-old congresswoman is the daughter of disgraced ex-president Alberto Fujimori.

Humala won the first round of the presidential elections on April 10, drawing the majority of his support from the rural and mostly indigenous highlands.

Casting moderate image

Humala later addressed hundreds of supporters gathered in the capital city’s historic centre. After waving the Peruvian flag the former army commander told the cheering crowd he was renewing his promise to maintain the country’s recent economic growth while promoting social programmes.

“We have waited a long time, we have long wished for a government that is truly concerned with the poor,” Hulama said.

Comparisons with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, which includes their military backgrounds, were key to Humala’s defeat to President Alan Garcia in Peru’s last presidential elections.

The only candidate placed squarely on the left, Humala, a former army commander, has nonetheless made efforts to cast a more moderate image during this election contest.

By toning down his revolutionary rhetoric he also won the backing of former centrist president Alejandro Toledo, who was placed fourth in the first round of the elections.

Nobel Literature Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa also said he would vote for Humala.

Challenges ahead

During the run-up to next Sunday’s elections, Humala backed away from talk about a state-owned pension-fund system to replace Peru’s current private model.

However, analysts have predicted it will be difficult for Humala to pass the reforms he has promised, since Fujimori's Peru 2011 party won almost one-third of the seats in Peru's congress in April.

Talk of raising the minimum wage and imposing a windfall tax on the mining sector on Humala’s campaign trail has also made investors nervous.

Peru’s stock and currency markets swung wildly last week as polls suggested Humala was on pace to win, the Miami Herald reported.

Date created : 2011-06-06

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