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2011 - Ollanta Humala Tasso

Still widely seen as the political leader of the government's ideological opposition, former presidential candidate Ollanta Humala and his Partido Nacionalista Peruano (PNP) opposed the legislative decrees since 2008, claiming to represent the interest of indigenous groups in doing so. The Government of Peru blamed the PNP for deliberately misinforming communities regarding the content of the decrees and also for inciting violence.

Many pro-system figures saw the 2011 national elections as a defining moment. Pro-system actors hoped that the benefits generated for real people by the welcome pro-growth policy continuity over the past 15 years will lead Peruvian voters to elect to continue along the same path. According to this view, the political, economic and social benefits of the pragmatic approach should have spread to a sufficiently large percentage of Peruvians such as to make the country resistant to the still latent (and sometimes explosive) anti-system challenge.

The Peruvian Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Peruano) was a paramilitary group known for its ultra-nationalist views, the Movement is headed by Antauro Igor Humala Tasso who was arrested in January 2005 following the occupation of a police station in the southern province of Andahuaylas. Humala Tasso is the brother of 2006 presidential candidate Ollanta Humala Tasso.

In 2006 Ollanta Humala Tasso avoided identifying himself with detailed policies, instead cultivating a vague image as an honest, courageous and nationalistic outsider, committed to social justice and cleaning out the corrupt politicians, while distancing himself from his father's Ethnocacerista Movement and his brother Antauro's armed uprising in Andahuaylas.

Echoing the anti-establishment rhetoric of Bolivia's Evo Morales and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, he promoted himself as the dark-skinned representative of the masses. He emphasized wealth redistribution and government reform, pledging to nationalize strategic sectors of the economy, such as mining and gas, and to rewrite Peru's constitution.

Omar Sanchez-Sibony noted that Humala "was burdened by three authoritarian stains that weighted heavily as he sought to conquer the presidency. One was his role in the final stages of the war against the Shining Path guerrillas in the highland region of Huanuco, where he is accused of having perpetrated human rights abuses against the civil population. He was officially indicted but the case was eventually archived for lack of evidence and irregularities surrounding a keywitness.... The second stain dates from October 2000, when Ollanta Humala led a localized military uprising against the Fujimori regime alongside his brother Antauro Humala in the region of Moquegua. After the fall of the Fujimori government Ollanta turned himself to authorities and was pardoned.Five years later, Ollanta Humala fleetingly supported anothe ruprising led by his brother that materialized in the assault of a police station in Andahuaylas, resulting in the killing of six police officers and a 25-year imprisonment for his brother Antauro. In addition, his father Isaac Humala was known for his ultranationalist views, espousing an ideology named etnocaterismo, which maintains that Peruvian Indians are racially superior to white settlers."

It escaped no one on Humala’s campaign team that his association with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had doomed his electoral chances in 2006. This time he sought to distance himself from the Venezuelan strongman. Ollanta Humala Tasso, runner-up to Garcia in 2006, won the most votes in the first round of the 2011 presidential election.

The second round of the 2011 presidential election was quite possibly the most polarized in recent Peruvian history. It pitted the conservative Right (in its various strands) as a defender the prevailing economic model against the progressive sectors which stood as sworn enemies of Fujimorismo. President Alan Garcia hatched the so called Plan Sabana, ordering general Danilo Guevara, chief of the Intelligence Directorate to orchestrate a smear campaign using the state intelligence services to engage in wiretapping and press leaks to hurt the reputation of Humala.

In the June 5, 2011 runoff, Humala defeated opponent Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori, by a 51.3% to 48.7% margin.

Since taking office 28 July 2011, President Humala made social inclusion his administration’s central theme. On October 24 the Peruvian Congress formally created a new Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, with operations beginning on January 1, 2012. President Humala named economist Carolina Trivelli Avila to be the first head of the new ministry.

While the election of President Humala initially generated political and economic uncertainty, President Humala took decisive steps to demonstrate continuity with the prior administration. Shortly after his inauguration, President Humala confirmed Julio Velarde as president of the Central Bank of Peru and appointed Luis Miguel Castilla as minister of economy and finance, both of whom served as senior members in the prior administration and were strong proponents of open market policies.

In view of his appointment of a respected economic team and actions taken during his first 100 days in office, many anticipated that President Ollanta Humala would continue the sound economic policies of several prior administrations. While seeking to continue the well-functioning economic engine inherited from its predecessors, the Humala administration pursued a social inclusion agenda with the goal of ensuring that the lower classes increasingly benefit from Peru’s economic success.

Since taking office on July 28, 2011, President Humala’s administration continued to implement policies that promote macroeconomic stability, fiscal discipline and domestic and foreign investment. In addition, President Humala’s administration has not made any significant shift in trade policy and has not experienced any adverse changes with its major trading partners, relative to the prior administration.

In addition to strong economic growth, President Humala’s administration also focused on promoting a broader agenda of social inclusion by developing social programs that benefit the poorest sectors of the population. President Humala has vowed to lift the country out of extreme poverty by investing in social inclusion programs, with an emphasis on health, education and infrastructure projects.

On 16 March 2014, voters in 36 districts elected 23 mayors and 158 city council members to replace authorities recalled in July 2013. Regional and municipal elections took place on October 5. Voters elected 11 regional presidents and regional vice presidents, 274 regional council members, 1,842 mayors (both provincial and local) and 10,526 city and provincial council members. Voters elected 14 more regional presidents and vice presidents in run-off elections on December 7. International observers reported the elections were free and fair.

Controversy over candidate qualifications, illicit campaign financing, and links to crime were heavily reported. The National Electoral Jury (JNE) revealed in August a list of 345 local and regional candidates who had outstanding sentences for different crimes, including three cases of rape, three cases of terrorism, three cases of drug trafficking, three cases of kidnapping, 11 cases of robbery, 11 cases of inflicting severe injuries, four cases of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, four cases of family violence, and four cases of embezzlement. The JNE prohibited them from participating in the October election.

Peru's Congress narrowly ratified President Ollanta Humala's embattled cabinet on 26 August 2014 after the ruling party offered to suspend a rule requiring independent workers to pay into a pension program. Humala secured scarcely enough support for his sixth cabinet in three years with 55 votes. Fifty-four lawmakers voted against his cabinet and nine abstained. The vote was the third after a majority of lawmakers balked at the cabinet's ratification, part of a bid to pressure Humala on a raft of demands ranging from ministerial changes to the repeal of the pension law.

Peru's prime minister Ana Jara resigned after losing a 31 March 2015 confidence vote in Congress following allegations of spying on her opponents, delivering a blow to President Ollanta Humala, who had to form another new government. The country faced the prospect of a seventh prime minister during the nearly four years that Humala had been in power. Humala and his wife Heredia are both constitutionally barred from running in 2016 and as of mid-2015 their party had yet to announce a presidential candidate.

Peru's president named Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano as prime minister on 02 April 2015, replacing Ana Jara. Known for taking a hard-line with the opposition, his becoming prime minister may do little to improve President Ollanta Humala's already difficult relationship with Peru's 130-member, unicameral Congress.

The first lady, Nadine Heredia was under investigation on possible charges of money laundering undeclared campaign funds and of transferring millions of dollars into secret personal bank accounts overseas.

By February 2016 Brazilian police were investigating potential bribes of US$3 million from Latin America's largest engineering company Odebrecht to Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. Odebrecht has won contracts worth several billions in Peru in the past decade, including a US$5 billion natural gas pipeline during Humala's term after its sole bidding competitor was disqualified from a public auction at the last minute. This marked the latest addition to a long list of corruption accusations levelled against the Peruvian president and his political party, Partido Nacionalista Peruano, which include charges of financial irregularities, fraud and illegal spying.

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Page last modified: 10-03-2016 11:27:18 ZULU