Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia, whose 1985-90 term left his country in economic ruin, won a runoff election against left-of-center former army officer Ollanta Humala, preliminary results showed June 6.

Garcia held a seemingly insurmountable lead of 54.7 per cent against 47.2 per cent for Humala with nearly 96 percent of the vote counted.

A Humala victory could have made Peru the latest addition to the left-wing trend in South America. He had promised to redistribute wealth to his country’s poor Indian and mestizo majority by imposing higher taxes on foreign companies that exploit Peru’s natural resources.

But while Humala appeared to have won in Peru’s poor, indigenous-dominated southern Andes, Garcia did well on the country’s more industrialized northern coast and in the capital Lima, where he claimed to have won 65 percent of the vote.