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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 April 2006, 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK
Peru awaits run-off poll line-up
Vote-counting in Peru's election
Counting is set to be concluded by Friday, officials say
Peru's presidential election is set to go to a second round with ex-army officer Ollanta Humala practically assured of a place in the run-off.

With more than 80% of the vote counted, Mr Humala is six points ahead of former centre-left president Alan Garcia.

But Mr Garcia is less than one point ahead of conservative candidate Lourdes Flores in the race for second place.

Results may not be known for days and the run-off is expected in May or June.

A 50% share of the vote is needed for an outright victory.

Analysts say the good performance of two left-leaning candidates seems to confirm a recent left-wing trend in elections in Latin America

'Sun or rain'

As counting continued, Mr Humala was in the lead with 30.84% of the vote.

Mr Garcia was on 24.62% and Ms Flores had 23.71%.

Election officials said they would complete counting by Friday.

PERU ELECTION
Presidential candidates: Ollanta Humala, Lourdes Flores and Alan Garcia
20 candidates
Second round if no-one gets 50%
Voters electing president, two vice-presidents and 120 lawmakers
Voting compulsory for 16.5m registered voters

Mr Humala said he did not care who he faced in the second round, which must take place within 30 days of the first round results being announced.

"It's irrelevant," he told Brazil's O Globo newspaper. "It's like you asking me if I'd prefer if it rained or was sunny."

Mr Humala - who in 2000 led a rebellion against Alberto Fujimori's government - was until recently a political unknown.

His promises to increase taxes on foreign companies and revise a free trade agreement with the US have appealed to Peru's poor majority which has seen little of the benefits of the country's economic growth.

However, his increasing popularity has reportedly led some foreign firms to put investment plans on hold.

Previous rivals

The business sector is widely said to favour Ms Flores, a former congresswoman who is hoping her chances will be boosted by Michelle Bachelet's recent win in Chile.

Mr Garcia's 1985-1990 administration was marked by hyperinflation and rebel violence but he remains popular among many Peruvians and focused much of his campaign on attracting young voters.

He has said he has now learnt his lessons, and is keen to distance himself from what he calls the demagoguery of Mr Humala.

In the 2001 election, Mr Garcia edged Ms Flores out of the run-off beating her to a second place. He then lost to Alejandro Toledo.

Peruvians were also electing two vice-presidents and 120 members of Congress.

Early results suggest no party will have a clear majority in Congress.


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