Peru's presidential runoff goes down to the wire

Peru's two presidential candidates are in a close race as vote counting continues following the runoff election on Sunday.

With about 95 percent of the votes counted, election authorities say leftist Pedro Castillo had edged ahead with 50.26 percent of the ballots.

His conservative rival Keiko Fujimori had 49.73 percent, trailing by roughly half a percentage point.

The next president will face the task of rebuilding Peru's economy and medical system, both damaged by the coronavirus pandemic.
The country currently has the highest death rate from the coronavirus, with more than 500 fatalities reported per 100,000 people.

Castillo is an elementary school teacher who also works for a teachers' union. He has gained support from the poor and rural residents by calling for state control of the energy sector and the drafting of a new constitution.

Fujimori is the eldest daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori. Her pledge to protect a free economy and democracy has won backing mainly from businesspeople and the wealthy.