Profile: Alan Garcia

Once reviled for leading Peru to economic ruin, Alan Garcia, 57, has reinvented himself as a moderate politician dedicated to social change but aware of financial realities.

    Garcia say he has learned the hard way how Peru should be run
    • Born in Lima on May 23, 1949, studied law in Madrid, and sociology in Paris.



    • Once said he partly financed his studies by playing guitar in the streets.



    • Joined the centre-left APRA - Peru's oldest political party - as a student in 1976 and was elected to the constitutional assembly in 1978.



    • Won a seat in Congress two years later.

    • Secretary-general of APRA from 1983 to 1985.



    • Elected president in 1985 at the age of 36.



    • Faced several corruption lawsuits at the end of his term.

    • Fled the country in 1992, when troops were sent to arrest him after the then president Alberto Fujimori shut down Congress and imposed martial law.



    • Wrote several books about Peru and Latin America during his years in exile in Bonn, Paris and Bogota.

    • His 1985-1990 administration was marked by four-digit inflation, unchecked leftist insurgencies and rampant  corruption.



    • Admits he made some errors during his administration, but says he has learned the hard way how Peru should be run.



    • Returned to the political scene in 2001 after nine years of self-imposed exile

      , narrowly losing his first re-election bid to Alejandro Toledo, the current president.



    • Once fiery, he has toned down his speech, which now includes more free-market concepts and less populist rhetoric.

    • Has drawn support from the political right and the business community that once opposed him but feared a win by Ollanta Humala, who was seen as anti-business.

    • The 1.90-m tall lawyer punctuates his speech with poetry and salutes to independence heroes dear to the hearts of Peruvians.



    • Has promised to maintain orthodox macro-economic discipline,

      pledged to slash government spending, boost economic growth and support small and medium-size enterprises.



    • Says he will get tough on crime.



    • Is married and has four children.

    SOURCE: AFP


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