Apr 11 - Peru's left-wing nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala leads the presidential vote with two-thirds of ballots counted. Jessica Gray reports.
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With over half of the votes tallied, Peru's left-wing presidential candidate is in the lead.
Nationalist Ollanta Humala is winning the first round of Peru's presidential election with 28% of the vote.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OLLANTA HUMALA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
"Much thanks to all the voters for giving us this vote of confidence. We're not going to defraud them but now we have to work harder so that we will have a nationalist government on July 28 thanks to the confidence, through God, of the Peruvian people."
His two pro-business rivals vie for second place, each with just over 20% of ballots.
Despite a decade of economic growth, a third of Peruvians live in poverty.
Experts say it is this segment of the population that is backing 48-year-old Humala, a former army officer who's positioned himself as a man of the people and a moderate.
Polls suggest his rivals would have trouble defeating Humala in a runoff that could be scheduled for June.
But that is not deterring candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PEDRO PABLO KUCZYNSKI, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
"The official organism spoke but with only a small sample -- just one-quarter of the voters -- we have to be cautious but it puts us in second place at this moment."
Third place Keiko Fujimori is also optimistic with over a third of votes yet to be counted.
She and Kuczynski hope to gain ground after accusing Humala of planning to up economic state control, roll back reform and jeopardize $40 billion dollars of foreign investment in mining and energy exploration in the next 10 years.
Allegations he will also hike taxes in certain sectors have caused the country's main stock index to dip recently.
Jessica Gray, Reuters
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