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Son of Jewish Immigrant Grabs Narrow Lead in Peru Presidential Race

— The son of a Polish-Jewish immigrant from Germany has a slight lead in Peru’s presidential elections.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former prime minister of Peru and economist for the World Bank known as PPK, as of Monday morning held a 1 percent lead in the voting over Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the jailed former president Alberto Fugimori.

Final results are not expected until at least Tuesday.

Kuczynski’s lead over Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of an imprisoned former authoritarian leader, narrowed to just 0.36 percentage points late on Monday.

With 95 percent of votes processed in Peru’s closest presidential election in at least 50 years, Kuczynski led Fujimori by fewer than 60,000 votes. Preliminary results on Sunday put more than a percentage point between them.

Votes from Peruvians living abroad were largely still to be tallied and could decide the outcome. One review of sample ballots suggested they were more likely to favor Kuczynski, a former prime minister and World Bank economist.

Kuczynski ran in the 2011 presidential elections, when Ollanta Humala was elected.

Kuczynski’s Jewish father, Maxime, was born in Poland and moved with his family to Germany. He received his degree in philosophy in 1913 and a degree in medicine in 1919. He served in the German army during World War I.

Maxime Kuczynski fled to Peru in 1933 when the Nazis came to power. The candidate’s mother, Madeleine Godard, was of Swiss-French descent.

The younger Kaczynski served twice as finance minister as well as Cabinet chief under former President Alejandro Toledo. Previously he was an economist with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund before being named general manager of Peru’s Central Reserve Bank. He also served as co-chairman of First Boston in New York City, an international investment bank.—WIth Reuters

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