Ballots were being counted Sunday in Peruvian presidential elections destined for a run-off with no candidate able to fire up the crisis-weary nation, during its deadliest week of the COVID-19 pandemic to date.

Iran Press/America: Some 25 million people were eligible to vote, the day after Peru reported its highest-ever daily toll in the pandemic, France 24 reported.

With 16 percent of votes counted by early Monday, far-left labor unionist Pedro Castillo took a surprise lead among 18 candidates with 15.7 percent -- much higher than polls had predicted but far short of the 51 percent required to avoid a run-off scheduled for June 6.

In second place was rightist economist Hernando de Soto with 14.4 percent, said the ONPE electoral office.

The two candidates with the most votes will contest the second round.

Almost a third of voters had declared themselves undecided ahead of what Ipsos Peru chief Alfredo Torres said was the country's "most fragmented election" ever.


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