Published June 10, 2016
Former World Bank economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has eked out a victory in Peru's closest presidential election since 1962, defeating the daughter of imprisoned ex-President Alberto Fujimori. With all votes counted, electoral authorities said Kuczynski won 50.1 percent compared to Keiko Fujimori's 49.9 percent.
A look at some of the issues that dominated the vote and the main challenges the next president will face:
WHO IS KUCZYNSKI?
At age 77, Kuczynski will be Peru's oldest president. The son of a Jewish-Polish immigrant father who was one of Peru's leading tropical health experts, Kuczynski's first stint in government in the 1960s was cut short by a military coup. He fled Peru and moved to the United States, where he worked at the World Bank and then embarked on a successful career in business. He also served as Peru's finance minister twice and prime minister under President Alejandro Toledo. A conservative economist, he said he wants to modernize Peru by lowering taxes, attracting foreign investment and delivering water and public services to long-forsaken areas.
WHAT ARE PERU'S CHALLENGES?
Peru has been the darling of foreign investors during much of the past decade thanks to an abundance of gold and copper deposits. But with the commodities boom over, growth is slowing. Other major concerns are crime and drug-trafficking. Peru has surpassed Colombia as the world's largest supplier of cocaine.
HOW WILL KUCZYNSKI GOVERN?
Kuczynski's fledgling movement has just 18 of 130 seats in congress, so he'll need to build alliances — most likely with Fujimori's Popular Force party, which has a solid majority. In his first comments as president-elect, Kuczynski called for dialogue. One bargaining chip would be to grant release to house arrest to his election rival's father, former strongman Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and death squads during his rule in the 1990s.
WHAT IS KEIKO FUJIMORI'S FUTURE?
At age 41, she has plenty of time to mount a comeback. But she'll need to rein in hardliners and opportunists within her Popular Force party who yearn for a return to her father's authoritarian ways.
WHAT ABOUT THE OPPOSITION?
Although the main leftist alliance didn't qualify for the runoff, it played a huge role helping Kuczynski get elected by staging an anti-Fujimori protest on the eve of vote that was the largest demonstration seen in a generation. But it's unlikely to support his conservative policy agenda once he's in power. With the second-biggest electoral bloc in congress, it will have a strong position from which to negotiate.