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