LIMA (REUTERS) – Far-left candidate Pedro Castillo is leading the Peruvian presidential race with 16.1 per cent of the vote, followed by conservative Keiko Fujimori and liberal economist Hernando de Soto, tied in second place with 11.9 per cent, according to an Ipsos exit poll released on Sunday night (April 11).
In fourth place is social conservative Yonhy Lescano, with 11 per cent of the vote, followed by ultra-conservative Rafael Lopez Aliaga with 10.5 per cent and leftist Veronika Mendoza with 8.8 per cent, according to the exit poll.
The official results are expected to start coming in at 11.30pm (0430 GMT or 12.30pm Singapore time Monday). The top two candidates will advance to a second round in June.
The poll of 30,000 voters leaving polling stations in 150 provinces had a 3-point margin of error.
Eighteen candidates are running for the presidency in a tight race that has led to jitters among market watchers of the world’s second-largest copper producer and seen the sol currency trade at historically low levels against the dollar.
There were celebrations following the early result indicator in Mr Castillo’s home city of Cajamarca, in Peru’s northern highlands.
“I am grateful to the Peruvian people for this result,” Castillo told supporters, “and I ask for calm until the final results.” Castillo, 51, a primary-school teacher and union leader, put on a late surge in the polls, proposing answers for many of Peru’s poorest people, particularly in the country’s largely rural interior.
He has promised to redraft Peru’s 27-year-old Constitution, one of the key demands of young protesters who launched anti-government demonstrations late last year, with a view to weakening the business elite and giving the state a more dominant role in sectors such as mining, oil, hydropower, gas and communications.
Voters were also choosing a new Congress. Another highly fragmented 130-member legislature is expected.
Peru is engulfed in a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, on Saturday reporting 384 Covid-19 deaths in a grim new daily record for the country.
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