Peru's incoming President Ollanta Humala promised on Thursday the poor would take part in the country's economic boom, investors and their contracts would be respected and changes will be moderate and gradual.
The former army commander vowed to keep existing free-market economic and trade policies intact while providing a minimum pension for all Peruvians over age 65 and raising the minimum wage.
He said social programs will be financed in part by a new tax on the windfall profits of companies in Peru's vast mining sector.
We want the term 'social exclusion' to disappear from our language and lives forever, Humala said in his first speech after being sworn in as leader of one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
Economic growth and social inclusion will march together, said Humala who has named an economic team led by conservative economists.
In an acknowledgment his ‘Gana Peru’ lacks a majority in Congress, he promised to be conciliatory and seek dialogue to win approval for social programs.
But Humala, 49, caused a commotion in Congress by swearing to uphold the constitution of 1979 instead of a revised charter introduced in 1993 by former President Alberto Fujimori, who unilaterally shut down Congress to consolidate power.
Go home now! shouted legislators from Fujimori's party, the second-largest bloc in Congress after Gana Peru.
Humala said the 1979 constitution is truly an inspiration for liberty and democracy. The 1979 constitution was drafted by the military and civilians on the return of Peru to democracy following years of military rule.
The incoming president has tried to distinguish himself from his predecessor Alan Garcia, who lured billions in investment to Peru but was criticized for leaving over a third of Peruvians mired in poverty.
Humala said the state must do more to guarantee rural communities share direct benefits from new mining and oil projects and that Peru's natural gas should supply fuel to consumers before being exported.
Peru expects 50 billion dollars in investments in natural resources projects over the next decade. But social conflicts between companies and poor towns over pollution, water supplies and profits have delayed investments.
Humala has promised to mediate more than 200 conflicts in communities near mines and oil fields. Peru's human rights agency says nearly 100 people have died in the last three years in clashes between protesters and police in rural towns.
Natural resources will be respected and projects conditioned on respect for communities, workers and the environment, he said. The windfall profits of companies should contribute to the national fight against poverty.
In foreign policy Humala said he was convinced of reginal integration and would be sponsoring strong bodies such as Unasur. He also stated Peru fully adheres to non intervention in other countries affairs and the peaceful solution of conflicts.
Humala anticipated that whatever the result of the maritime border dispute with Chile currently at the International Court of The Hague, Peru would abide by the ruling, and looking at Chilean president Sebastian Piñera, sitting in Congress during the ceremony, he underlined he expected the same attitude from Chile.