The fortunate president

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IT COULD hardly have been closer. As the final votes were counted in the run-off ballot for Peru’s presidency, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a liberal economist, seemed to have defeated Keiko Fujimori by just 39,000 out of almost 18m votes, a margin of 0.2%. After months in which Ms Fujimori had led opinion polls, this was a surprising reversal. It shows how deeply divided Peru is about the legacy of Ms Fujimori’s father, Alberto, who ruled it as an autocrat from 1990 to 2000; he is serving long prison terms for corruption and complicity in human-rights abuses.

With such a narrow mandate, Mr Kuczynski’s first task when he takes office on July 28th will be to show that he can govern a country facing an economic slowdown and characterised by frequent social conflicts. It helps that he has few real policy differences with Ms Fujimori.

Fortune smiled on Mr Kuczynski throughout the race, with the force of the Andean sun. He was an unlikely victor. At 77, he is among the oldest presidential-election winners in Latin American history. He has alternated periods as an official in Peru—manager of the Central Bank in the 1960s, mining minister in the…Continue reading