Fujimori Concedes Defeat in Peru Presidential Vote

     LIMA, Peru (AP) — The daughter of imprisoned ex-President Alberto Fujimori conceded defeat to conservative economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Friday, 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 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 lawmakers from her Popular Force party.
     Fujimori was favored to win the presidential runoff after topping a crowded field of candidates in the first round by almost 20 points.
     But she hobbled to the finish line after 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 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for money laundering.
     Kuczysnki, whose fledgling party has just 18 seats in congress, extended an olive branch to 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 lawmakers pass one.
     Alberto Fujimori is serving 25 years for corruption and supporting death squads during his authoritarian rule in the 1990s.
     Authorities said Thursday that Kuczynski won 50.1 percent of the vote, defeating Fujimori by around 40,000 votes. It was Peru’s closest presidential election since the 1960s.
     Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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