“P.P.K.’s electoral victory bears examination, first of all, because, as his friend Roper pointed out, someone of his worldly pedigree is rare in a region with a longstanding penchant for folksy populists and authoritarians: Hugo Chávez, Álvaro Uribe, Daniel Ortega, and Cristina Kirchner come to mind, along with a long slew of others going back in time”.
The economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski won Peru’s Presidential election, beating his rival Keiko Fujimori. In every sense, Kuczynski is a member of his country’s social, political and economic élite. He was educated at Exeter College, Oxford and Princeton. He worked for the World Bank, been an investment banker on Wall Street and served as Peru’s Prime Minister, minister of economy and finance and of energy and mines. PPK does not fit into the current Latin-American political trend, in which powerful leftist governments have been swept aside by the right. Kuczynski is a center-right Keynesian, while Fujimori is a dyed-in-the-wool right-wing populist. PPK victory in fact, is due, at least partly, to the last minute support from the Peruvian left. Something new for Latin America, which has always veered toward obstinate polarizations over political compromises. A week before the second run of voting, Veronika Mendoza, the leading left-wing candidate, told her followers to vote for PPK. The prospect of a Keiko Fujimori Presidency was becoming intolerable. At their final debate, PPK suggested that if Fujimori won, Peru was at risk of becoming “a narcostate”. Talk of narcostate resonates deeply in Peru, which is the world’s largest producer of cocaine, and where high levels of criminality and insecurity are compounded by a notoriously corrupt judiciary and police force. Peru is also struggling with an economic slowdown, widespread income disparities, endemic poverty and rising discontent, particularly among the indigenous population. Kuczynski has said he wishes to bring reconciliation to Peru and intends to adopt a consensus approach to governing the country.