April 7, 2006

Peru vote is fight for 2nd-round place: polls

By Kevin Gray

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Nationalist ex-army commander
Ollanta Humala is keeping his lead as Peru's presidential
election this weekend approaches but polls conflicted on Friday
on whether pro-business candidate Lourdes Flores or former
President Alan Garcia would advance to a run-off.

A nationwide poll by Lima University showed Humala,
campaigning to restrict foreign investment in Peru, had 29.2
percent of voter support and Flores, a conservative, had 25.6
percent. Garcia of the center-left had 21.9 percent.

Humala would lose the second round against either Garcia or
Flores, the poll found.

A Datum poll showed Humala with 26 percent support and
Flores and Garcia tied at 24 percent. Datum did not look at the
second round.

The Datum survey had a 2 percentage point margin of error
and the Lima University poll had a 2.5 percentage point error
margin. A candidate needs at least 50 percent to avoid a
run-off in early May.

"The top three candidates have lost a little bit of support
and could continue to lose support. But it appears that nobody
will win outright in the first round," said Luis Benavente,
director of the polling arm of Lima University, at a news

An Apoyo poll this week also showed Garcia statistically
tied for second place with Flores. Many investors distrust
Garcia because of the economic chaos of his 1985-1990
government and his pledges to revise contracts with Peru's
utilities to bring down electricity and water prices.

In a run-off, Flores would beat Humala 48.6 percent to 37.3
percent, the Lima University poll said. Garcia would beat
Humala 41.3 percent to 37.7 percent, the survey found.

Datum did not publish a second-round simulation.

Both polls were carried out on April 5.