In Peru, nationalist candidate and former army officer Ollanta Humala is in the lead in presidential elections with just over 30 percent of the vote. Hailed as the champion of the poor, Humala is disliked by the upper and middle classes and by the business community.
An ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Humala will be the latest in a series of left-leaning Latin American leaders to be elected on a mandate of challenging US policies if he is elected. The pro-business candidate Lourdes Flores is slightly behind with 24.9 percent. The former Congresswoman and lawyer has played up her potential to be Peru’s first female leader. The left-leaning former President Alan Garcia is in third place with 23.5 percent of votes cast. If, as these early indications show, no single candidate polls more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two finishers will go head to head in a second round in May. The first official results are expected to be released this evening.