Peruvian presidential candidates Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Keiko Fujimori settled in for a photo finish as election officials slowly counted the final ballots to determine the outcome of one of the tightest races ever here. When the result will be final, however, is uncertain as an electoral board will need to rule on disputed ballots that could decide the close election, and as votes trickle in from rural areas and expatriates elsewhere. “That’s the million-dollar question,” Fernando Tuesta, a political analyst and former head of Peru’s election agency, said when asked how long it would take. “There isn’t a date for that.” On Tuesday, the election agency said Mr. Kuczynski, an economist, was leading with 50.17% of the votes, compared with 49.83% for Ms. Fujimori, the daughter of jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori. The agency said it had processed 98.7% of the votes. However, that didn’t include some votes that were disputed by the political parties and sent to the electoral board. The margin between the two candidates stood at about 47,000 votes. About 22 million Peruvians were registered to vote; the agency said 17.8 million had cast ballots.
Absentee ballots are arriving from Chile, the U.S., Spain and elsewhere. Receiving votes from remote communities, particularly those deep in Peru’s Amazon rain forest, has also taken time. And the counting of votes in a rugged and isolated coca-growing region, a hotbed for leftist rebels, was delayed by bad weather and security challenges, the election agency said Tuesday.
“It’s so close that every vote matters. People are talking about the votes coming in from Trinidad,” said Steven Levitsky, a political scientist at Harvard University. “It’s that close.”
The head of the election agency, Mariano Cucho, said he hoped all votes would be counted by the weekend.