Vargas Llosa Backs Arch-Foe Fujimori's Daughter in Peruvian Cliffhanger

With 24 hours to go before Peru elects a new president, few — if any — observers are predicting a winner in the hard-fought race between leftist Pedro Castillo and conservative Keiko Fujimori.

A just-completed Ipsos Poll showed Castillo, former teachers union boss and strike leader, edging the daughter of former strongman President Alberto Fujimori by a wafer-thin 45.1% to 43.1%.

Two months after Castillo led Keiko in the initial candidate race by 19% to 13%, she has been gaining momentum in the runoff. This is due, in part, to her support from many on the right who opposed her in the past because of her controversial father but now see her as the nation’s sole roadblock to socialism.

One of those supporters is Nobel laureate and acclaimed novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who lost a bitter 1990 election to the elder Fujimori but now clear fears Castillo more.

Washington and many world capitals are watching the contest closely, in part because international investors in Peru fear Castillo’s vow to change the constitution to give the state greater power, tax a largest share of profits from mining firms, and, in his words, “nationalize the Camisea Gas project, the gold, the silver, the uranium,

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