April 28, 2011 / 6:54 PM / 9 years ago

Humala's lead over Fujimori narrows in Peru race

LIMA (Reuters) - Left-wing nationalist Ollanta Humala’s lead over right-wing lawmaker Keiko Fujimori has narrowed to less than 4 percentage points, a poll ahead of the June 5 presidential election showed on Thursday.

Peru's presidential candidate Ollanta Humala arrives at a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Lima April 28, 2011. REUTERS/Enrique Castro-Mendivil

Peru’s main stock index responded by surging 3.42 percent to 18,573 points, while the sol currency firmed 0.35 percent to 2.82 per U.S. dollar as traders bet Fujimori, who is more trusted by investors, had improved chances of winning the contest.

The rally came after weeks of heavy selling of financial assets in Peru, one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, where investors worry Humala could roll back years of free-market reforms if elected.

The latest poll, conducted by local pollster CPI, showed Humala, who has moderated his fiery tone since narrowly losing the 2006 race, with 40.6 percent of the votes. Fujimori — the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who was jailed for human right crimes and corruption — got 36.8 percent in the poll.

The gap between them in the CPI poll, just 3.8 points, was narrower than a 6-point gap in a poll published on Sunday by Ipsos and an 8-point gap that separated them in the first-round vote on April 10.

The CPI poll of 1,800 voters was taken April 20-24 and had a margin of error of 2.3 points.

Humala has promised to keep key economic policies intact if elected, although investors remain uncertain about him.

Excluding undecided voters and those who would abstain, Humala would get 52.5 percent of votes and Fujimori 47.5 percent, the CPI poll said.

Pollsters have cautioned that the outcome of the race is highly unpredictable in part because voters view both candidates warily and many voters have not yet decided who they will support.

Undecided voters made up 10.6 of the CPI poll’s respondents and voters who will likely abstain 11.9 percent.

Reporting by Teresa Cespedes; writing by Terry Wade; editing by Eric Beech

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