Peru's presidential election headed for a tight finish late on Sunday, with first results giving ex-banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski a lead over his rival Keiko Fujimori, daughter of a jailed former president.
Kuczynski had 50.59 percent of the vote against 49.41 percent for Fujimori, with 52 percent of votes counted.
The economist, also known as "PPK," earlier urged his supporters to wait for the full official results, but was confident of victory.
"We are hoping to have a government of consensus. No more fighting and confrontation," he said late on Sunday.
Fujimori also urged her supporters to sit tight for what looked like a long vote-counting process.
"We are going to wait cautiously because the results will be coming in all night from the regions, from overseas, and the rural vote from deepest Peru. For that reason we are optimistic," she said.
"We have seen the vitality of Peruvian democracy and that fills me with pride."
Kuczynski, a former prime minister and investment banker, portrayed himself as an honest and experienced leader and has promised to clean up corruption and revive sluggish economic growth.
"We take this preliminary verdict with optimism, but with modesty," a grinning Kuczynski, 77, told cheering supporters from a balcony at his Lima campaign headquarters.
|Keiko Fujimori is seeking to be the South American country's first female president [Reuters]
Fujimori, 41, a former congresswoman, had a big lead in the first round of voting in April and was ahead in most opinion polls a week ago. But her lead melted away in the final days of campaigning in Peru's fourth democratic election since the end of her father Alberto Fujimori's decade-long rule in 2000.
Fujimori, who narrowly lost her first presidential bid against left-leaning Ollanta Humala in 2011, said in an upbeat speech on Sunday evening that rural votes from "deep Peru" still needed to be counted.
"This is a tight vote without a doubt ... what we're seeing is the vitality of democracy in our country, and that fills me with pride," Fujimori said in front of her orange-clad supporters at her campaign headquarters in Lima.
Seeking to be the South American country's first female president, she has spent the past five years trying to broaden her appeal beyond loyalists to her controversial father.
Alberto Fujimori was credited with defeating violent Shining Path guerrillas and building schools and hospitals in rural areas but his authoritarian style divided Peru and he is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses.