LIMA The future of Peru's presidency hung in the balance as former investment banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski held a razor-thin lead in Sunday's election over Keiko Fujimori, daughter of an imprisoned authoritarian leader.
With 94 percent of votes processed by late Monday, Kuczynski's lead over Fujimori narrowed to 0.56 percent in one of the Andean country's tightest elections ever. Officials suggested it might take a few days to call a winner.
Ballots from far-flung provinces and the Peruvian diaspora were still outstanding, said Mariano Cucho, the head of the electoral office ONPE.
"Tomorrow we'll be announcing a new update," said Cucho.
Some ballots were also being challenged and will be reviewed by electoral authorities, with an appeals process taking up to a week.
While disputes over ballots are typical in Peru, where voting is mandatory and volunteer observers can lodge complaints, they have not played a significant role in recent presidential elections that ended with candidates conceding defeat before a full vote count is complete.
Cucho said earlier on Monday, when about 90 percent of votes had been processed, that 1.5 percent were being disputed.
Renate Weber, head of the European Union's observation mission, said voting had been "calm and orderly" with no signs of fraud.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former prime minister and World Bank economist, portrayed himself as an honest and experienced leader who would clean up corruption, ensure every town in Peru has piped water and revive economic growth that has slowed on weaker prices for Peru's mineral exports.
Fujimori, the 41-year-old daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, has promised to take an iron-fist approach to crime, the top voter concern, while ramping up spending on scores of infrastructure projects from reservoirs to roads.
Fujimori had long been the favourite to win the election, but Kuczynski caught up with her in the final days of the campaign as Peruvians weighed the legacy of her father and scandals involving her close advisers.
(Additional reporting by Marco Aquino, Caroline Stauffer and Teresa Cespedes; Editing by Alistair Bell and Mary Milliken)
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