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Kuczynski inaugurated as Peru's new president.

July 28, 2016

Pedro Kuczynski has been inaugurated as Peru's new president. The former Wall Street banker said he plans to kick-start Peru's economy and combat poverty.

Peru Vereidigung des neuen Präsidenten Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Image: Reuters/M. Bazo

The 77-year-old economist - who takes over from leftist president, Ollanta Humala - said he would seek to foster "not just economic, but human growth."

After his swearing-in in Lima, the new president said his main goal will be fighting drug trafficking and crime, but also delivering drinking water and electricity to the roughly 10 million Peruvians who lack such basic services - about a third of the population.

Cohabitation gridlock?

Kuczynski was elected in a June runoff by just 41,000 votes over Keiko Fujimori, daughter of jailed former president, Alberto Fujimori (pictured below), while his new party won just 18 of the 130 seats in congress, against Fujimori's solid majority of 73 MPs. Fujimori has recently requested a presidential pardon, which Kuczynski rejected.

Peru Lima früherer Präsident Alberto Fujimori
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Mejia

The Oxford-educated leader stressed his experience in business and government, telling supporters on Thursday "we are going to hit the ground running." But he will likely have to lace pro-business sentiment with a commitment to some of the fundamentals of the Peruvian social compact.

Every school child, for example, will have a ham and egg sandwich each morning, he promised, "and a glass of proper milk, not watered down."

A cabinet of like minds?

The new president has been accused of creating a largely pro-business cabinet. His prime minister, Fernando Zavala, for example, headed the local affiliate of SABMiller while the Oxford-educated economy minister, Alfredo Thorne, worked for decades in finance.

The social welfare minister in charge of protecting the six million mostly rural Peruvians living in poverty is from Peru's biggest business lobby group.

Kuczynski's star on the rise

Kuczynski is a cousin of the Franco-Swiss filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and his American wife, Nancy. He is also a cousin of Hollywood actress Jessica Lange.

His father was an officer in the German army in World War I. With the rise of Adolf Hitler, he fled to Peru where he treated lepers in the Amazon jungle.

Kuczynski was educated at a school in northern England and studied piano and flute at London's Royal College of Music, before studying at Oxford University and Princeton and working at the World Bank.

He lived in the US for many years and returned to Peru in the 1980s to serve in various ministerial posts on and off over the following decades.

jbh/kms (AFP, AP)

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