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Alan Garcia presidency ends, new leader and congress take over

July 28, 2011 - PERU

President Alan Garcia hands over on Jul 28 to Ollanta Humala, a leftist former army officer who has promised to govern as a moderate, and the new Peruvian Congress and Andean Parliament will be sworn in. Garcia's exit invites a look at why his popularity and the popularity of his Apristas were so low when he has overseen growth averaging 7 per cent since his 2006 election. The handover also invites speculation about Peru's direction for the next five years. The congressional results suggests the trend could be nationalistic and left-leaning.

In the Jun 5 presidential election run-off, Humala faced off against Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of disgraced autocrat Alberto Fujimori. Canada's Globe & Mail notes that Peru is a top exporter of copper, gold and silver, and that rising prices for these commodities helped fuel the 7 per cent growth rate. Poverty dropped in Peru from 49 percent in 2004 to 35 percent in 2009, according to The Economist magazine, and both publications note that it is growth that has hardly trickled down to the poor. Analysts mainly agree that dissatisfaction with the unequal distribution of wealth accounts for Humala edge over his rival, just as it has undermined credit to Garcia for the country's much improved economic performance. During his term, Peru created 2.5 million jobs and had its first-ever investment-grade ratings from Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings, according to Bloomberg news service and other sources. Humala is the candidate of an alliance of nationalist parties, Gana Peru, which captured the lion's share of the Congressional votes. He was the lone candidate advocating a stronger state role in providing poor Peruvians with a greater share of the country's mining riches. Garcia's Partido Aprista Peruano came in sixth in the congressional contest and didn't put up any candidate for the presidency. Garcia is banned by Peru's constitution from seeking re-election. ;

2011 Congressional election results

Peru elections: Fujimori and Humala set for runoff vote (Guardian 11 Apr 2011)

Factbox: Peru's presidential candidates (11 Apr 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-07-28