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Montevideo, January 21st 2019 - 16:06 UTC

Alan García, the big surprise.

Monday, April 9th 2001 - 21:00 UTC
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Former president Alan García who managed 26% of the vote, was the big surprise in last Sunday's Peruvian presidential and Congressional election. Mr. García will then have a run off, to be held at the end of May or early June, against Mr. Alejandro Toledo, who mastered 36%, but 14 points short of the necessary 50% plus one vote. Mr. García's unexpected showing, --he only returned to the country a few months ago since he was exiled nine years in Colombia forced by the former authoritarian Fujimori regime--, has created concern in the Peruvian business community since the former charismatic and populist president left the country in 1990 amidst serious corruption claims and 7.500% inflation. Although Mr. García now preaches as a "reborn" social democrat who favors an open economy and a vigorous private sector, during his five year term he was a determined government interventionist. However Perú's next president will have to woo Ms. Lourdes Flores and her 24% voters, who from an economic point of view are closer to Mr. Toledo, an Indian born, Harvard educated economist, World Bank advisor who's claim of fraud in last year's presidential election to confirm Mr. Fujimori's third mandate, triggered the end of what Peruvians now refer to as "ten years of corrupt regime and dictatorship". Both Mr. Toledo and Ms. Flores are strong believers in free markets, privatisation, foreign investment and an open Peruvian economy. So the run off dispute will probably concentrate on economic debate, --and electoral promises of employment, Peruvian public opinion main concern--. Polls indicate that half of Ms. Flores voters are inclined for Mr. Toledo, and 25% for Mr. García. But whoever becomes 25 million Peruvians next democratic elected president will have a tough job pulling the country put of recession, plus ruling with a split Congress and an overblown military budget.

Categories: Mercosur.

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