Friday, Jun 14, 2024 | Last Update : 05:41 AM IST

  Peru’s new President a former Wall Street economist

Peru’s new President a former Wall Street economist

AFP
Published : Jul 29, 2016, 4:55 am IST
Updated : Jul 29, 2016, 4:55 am IST

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who will be sworn in Thursday as President of Peru, says he will hit the ground running after a long career as a Wall Street banker that gave him the moniker “El Gringo”.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who will be sworn in Thursday as President of Peru, says he will hit the ground running after a long career as a Wall Street banker that gave him the moniker “El Gringo”.

“We will not have to read the instruction manual, because we know what must be do-ne,” he told supporters on the campaign trail.

Mr Kuczynski, 77, defeated Keiko Fujimo-ri, the daughter of a jailed former President, in a hard-fought presidential election last month that was decided by a razor-thin margin. He will lead one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, taking over from outgoing leftist President Ollanta Humala.

The incoming President cut an eccentric figure on the campaign trial, where he played folk music on the flute, boogied stiffly to the disco beats of his campaign song and had a man-sized guinea pig for a mascot.

Peruvians call him “El Gringo” and make fun of his American accent, which betrays the many years he has lived outside his native country.

But “PPK” played up his experience in business and government, while lightening the baggage of his outsider status by donning a traditional multicolored woolly hat at rallies and trotting out his guinea pig mascot, a symbol of Peru.

“We are going to hit the ground running,” he told supporters on the campaign trail, some of them dressed as guinea pigs.

In speeches, he dropped dry jokes and occasional profanities. Competing against Ms Fujimori’s well-oiled election machine, he stressed his age and experience.

“I am old, but my noggin is still working,” he said.

He hammered home on his promises to fight crime and create jobs.

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

Mr Kuczynski handed ammunition to his opponents when, after April’s first-round vote, he disappeared on a trip to the US to see his daughter.

Location: Peru, Lima