Disgraced ex-President wins Peru runoff vote
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Disgraced ex-President wins Peru runoff vote

Alan Garcia, whose 1985-90 Govt left Peru mired in guerrilla violence and economic chaos, won back the office by defeating a fiery nationalist.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 11:01 IST

Former President Alan Garcia, whose 1985-90 government left Peru mired in guerrilla violence and economic chaos, won back the office by defeating a fiery nationalist ex-soldier endorsed by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

It was a stunning comeback for a man whose name had been equated with political disaster -- and a rejection of a political upstart enthusiastically endorsed by Venezuela's anti-US president.

Garcia's lead of 55.5 per cent against 44.5 per cent for Ollanta Humala with 77.3 per cent of the vote counted appeared insurmountable, said the head of the electoral agency, Magdalena Chu.

The margin could shrink as Humala's support is strongest in rural areas where vote reporting is slower.

Unofficial partial counts by the polling firm Apoyo and the citizen watchdog group Transparencia had given the center- leftist Garcia more than 52 per cent of the vote.

Speaking to ebullient followers even before first official results were announced, Garcia, 57, thanked God for what "appears to be a victory by the party of the people".

He said Peruvians had sent an overwhelming message to Chavez that they wanted no part of the "strategy of expansion of a militaristic, retrograde model he tried to impose in South America".

Humala, a 43-year-old retired military man, spooked upper- and middle-class Peruvians by attacking the established parties as corrupt and unresponsive to the needs of the poor.

Garcia, 57, adroitly turned the race into a referendum on the Chavez factor, depicting Humala as an aspiring despot who would fall into lockstep with the Venezuelan's populist economics and Cuba-friendly anti-Americanism.

First Published: Jun 05, 2006 11:01 IST