Peru’s presidential race raised more dust and stoked more heat on Tuesday as election officials continued to count votes and the early leader lost much of his slim advantage over his opponent, the daughter of an imprisoned former president.
Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, 77, was leading Keiko Fujimori, 41, by less than one percentage point, or about 57,000 of roughly 17 million votes cast, the country’s electoral commission said Tuesday.
Ms. Fujimori, who had been leading in polls before the election only to lose ground on Sunday, appeared to be closing the gap with Mr. Kuczynski, a former prime minister, as officials tallied a small number of uncounted votes that will determine the outcome.
Election officials asked for patience as they counted votes from Peruvians living abroad and from distant rural areas, including some ballots that were arriving on a river boat that had been delayed by bad weather.
Whoever wins, the next president will have earned the victory by a razor-thin margin.
“It’s going to be very rough,” said Cynthia McClintock, a political scientist at George Washington University who studies Peru.
The election had drawn attention throughout the region because of Ms. Fujimori, whose father, Alberto, rose to power as a populist and became an increasingly authoritarian leader in the 1990s after suspending the Constitution. But Mr. Fujimori remains popular among many Peruvians for crushing the Shining Path rebel group. He was later convicted of corruption and human rights abuses and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2009.
Ms. Fujimori campaigned on a law-and-order platform and said she would attract foreign investment to aid Peru, which has one of the best-performing economies in the region.
During the campaign, Mr. Kuczynski, who is also a former Wall Street investor and World Bank official, promised to make big investments to improve the country’s infrastructure and change the tax code to encourage people to trade work in the informal economy for jobs at registered businesses that pay taxes.