Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of Peru’s former president who was jailed for massacres and is a centre-right candidate, won the first round of presidential elections on Sunday. She recorded a two digit win over her closest rival and if she wins, she will be the country’s first female leader.
Fujimori, 40, won about 40 percent of the votes while her opponents, centrist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and leftist Veronika Mendoza, have won 20 percent votes each, the BBC reported. The next few hours will determine who will face Fujimori in June in a run-off vote.
Peru’s presidential election has been marked by a number of controversies. Besides the allegations of vote-buying, seven people died in a guerrilla attack a day before Fujimori’s win. According to exit surveys by pollsters Ipsos, CPI and GfK, Keiko Fujimori was able to survive attempts to ban her from the elections and suspicions over her father’s legacy to top the polls.
Fujimori was accused of attracting voters with gifts. However, she and Kuczynski were acquitted. Nine other candidates were also dismissed because of irregularities or lack of support. Another candidate, Gregorio Santos, is running the race from jail where he was impounded on corruption charges, Yahoo News reported.
Alberto Fujimori, the former president, is serving a 25-year jail term for ordering death squads to attack civilians in an attempt to quell insurgencies. However, he is loved by many voters for being able to crush the Shining Path guerrilla group that were responsible for kidnappings and other attacks. The rebel group was brought down in the 1990s following a conflict that lasted almost a decade and killed around 69,000 people.
The Saturday’s attack that killed seven people has been attributed to the remnants of the Shining Path which exists in the deep of the jungle.
“That is why we want more security,” said Wilfredo Pena, a 55-year-old maintenance worker who voted for Kuczynski. “We want a change — safety for citizens and job security.”