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Who’s in Charge in Peru? Peruvians Can’t Agree


A less vocal section of Peruvians, however, has expressed concern about repeating the mistakes of 1992, when the country last faced a constitutional crisis. Back then, another political outsider, an agronomist descendant of Japanese immigrants, Alberto Fujimori — the father of the current opposition leader, Keiko Fujimori — dissolved the Congress with a similar discourse of national rebirth.

Mr. Fujimori then proceeded to rule with an iron fist, dismantling courts, staffing institutions with loyalists and committing gross human rights violations in his quest to stamp out dissent. His daughter’s party is still the largest force in Congress, epitomizing in its opponents’ eyes the political decay that her father ostensibly came to power to combat.

Analysts warn that Peru’s political paralysis could soon begin to wear down the country’s steady economic growth, which has been fueled by mining and infrastructure investment. Peru’s 3.9 percent economic growth forecast this year by the International Monetary Fund is a sign of financial health on a continent plagued by stagnation, stock market runs and outright collapse in nearby Venezuela.

However, Peru’s basic economic model will likely remain untouched, regardless of which contender for the presidency comes out ahead.

“There are no signs at present that the favorable regulatory environment for the extractive sector, or the treatment of ongoing operational projects, will be adversely affected,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, a political risk analyst with IHS Markit in London.

Peru’s foreign policy is also unlikely to change significantly. Both Mr. Vizcarra and Ms. Fujimori’s party have taken a tough stance against the government of Venezuela, whose economic collapse has triggered the biggest geopolitical crisis in the region in decades.

But a breakdown of the constitutional order triggered by this week’s events could come to haunt the country’s political center in the next elections, said Abhijit Surya, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

“The latest developments significantly heighten the risk that a radical, anti-establishment candidate will win the 2021 presidential elections,” he wrote in a note to clients Tuesday.


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