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Humala wins Peru election

As supporters of President-elect Ollanta Humala celebrated his narrow election victory, it took investors just a few hours to let the former army officer know how they felt about his win.

Spooked by fears that the leftist Humala might roll back free-market reforms and punish foreign investors, the stock market plunged 12.5 percent Monday before trading was halted. Peru’s leading stock indicator experienced its biggest single-day drop in the market’s history, local media said.

Humala, a former army officer, has vowed to keep the country’s economic engine humming even as he reaches out to the poor. But his critics worry he might turn the country into a socialist experiment like Venezuela or Bolivia.

Voters overcame those fears as they handed him a victory. With 94 percent of the ballots counted, the National Election Office said Humala had received 51.4 percent of the vote, versus Keiko Fujimori’s 48.6 percent.

In a concession speech Monday afternoon, Fujimori, a right-wing former congresswoman, said it is “fundamental for the country to continue along its economic path and it is fundamental to have clear rules so we don’t have situations like the one we saw today at the stock market.”

Her concession came as analysts and investors were clamoring for Humala to name his economic cabinet.

“We need more than words; we need concrete actions right now,” said Ernesto Ferrand, a trader with Andes Securities. “Investors don’t know what to think.”

As the bitter campaign went down to the wire, both candidates unleashed a flood of promises. Now it will be up to Humala to make good on pledges to raise the minimum wage, provide cheap gas and increase subsidies.

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