Keiko Fujimori concedes defeat in Peru presidential vote

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski

The daughter of imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori has conceded defeat to conservative economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, ending five days of suspense in which ballots trickled in from Peru’s closest presidential election in decades.

In a short statement, Keiko Fujimori wished Mr Kuczynski good luck and vowed to lead a responsible opposition in congress, where her party controls 73 of 130 seats.

But she also had harsh words for politicians, business leaders and members of the media whom she accused of a “hate-filled” campaign to discredit her candidacy, which many Peruvians feared would revive the corruption and criminality of her father’s authoritarian rule in the 1990s.

“The country has witnessed a campaign that promoted clashes between Peruvians, that sought and managed to awaken hatred and fanaticism,” she said while surrounded by MPs from her Popular Force party.

Ms Fujimori was favoured to win the presidential run-off after topping a crowded field of candidates in the first round by almost 20 points.

But she hobbled to the finish line after Mr Kuczynski accused her of being a harbinger of a “narco state” when it was revealed that the secretary-general of her party was being investigated by the US Drug Enforcement Administration for money laundering.

Mr Kuczysnki, whose fledgling party has just 18 seats in congress, extended an olive branch to Ms Fujimori in his first interview since being declared winner, saying that he would sign a bill giving older inmates like her father the right to house arrest if MPs pass one.

Alberto Fujimori is serving 25 years for corruption and supporting death squads during his authoritarian rule in the 1990s.

Authorities said on Thursday that Mr Kuczynski won 50.1% of the vote, defeating Ms Fujimori by around 40,000 votes. It was Peru’s closest presidential election since the 1960s.

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