LIMA, Peru (AP) -- Peruvians elected a rags-to-riches economist as their next president in a vote that highlighted persisting racial divisions in the land where Spanish conquistadors defeated the ancient Inca Empire.
With 85 percent of the vote counted Monday, Alejandro Toledo had defeated Alan Garcia, 52 percent to 48 percent. International observers said Sunday's runoff election was Peru's cleanest vote in years.
Toledo, a shoeshine boy who rose from poverty to become a World Bank economist before entering politics, will become Peru's first freely elected president of Indian descent and probably the first president ever in Latin America who made Indian pride a cornerstone of his campaign.
Toledo capitalized on his dark, chiseled Indian features and short stature to mount a campaign replete with imagery of triumphant Inca emperors and with odes to Indian glory.
Peruvians drove authoritarian President Alberto Fujimori from office in a corruption scandal, and signaled a return to democratic voting after several elections tainted by fraud. International monitors praised the voting as Peru's cleanest in years.
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