Peru. The year ended with a growing political crisis in Peru. Ever since Keiko Fujimori lost the 2016 presidential election, she has, through her Party of People’s Power (FP), supported majority in Congress for an intense political campaign against President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. In September, his Prime Minister Fernando Zavala faced the prospect of a distrust vote against his Minister of Education Marilú Martens, which could have triggered a new election. Kuczynski chose to dismiss Zavala and replace him with Congressman and party colleague Mercedes Aráoz, and also replace five other members of government. Government reforms are common in Peru and both the finance minister, the transport minister and the energy minister were forced to resign during the year due to the same pressure from Fujimori’s FP. The direct cause of the drama was the opposition’s criticism of Marten’s way of handling a multi-month teacher strike, but in the background an old power struggle between Kuczynski and supporters of former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) and his daughter Keiko. Already in mid-October, a distrust vote was directed at the new prime minister, who, however, managed. In November, the government crisis was followed by threats of national law against national prosecutor Pablo Sánchez for breach of his duties in connection with investigations into the corruption scandal surrounding the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. In fact, Sánchez had just launched an investigation of Fujimori himself into the scandal on the basis of leaked documents from Brazil and called to testify before a congressional committee.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||430,300,000,000 USD|
|GDP growth rate||2.50%|
|GDP per capita||$ 13,500|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||25.8%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||3.20%|
|Investment volume||20.6% of GDP|
|National debt||25.40% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 61,340,000,000|
|Number of visitors||3,215,000|
According to Countryaah.com, President Kuczynski and grassroots movements accused Fujimori’s party of undermining democracy by variously staging a constitutional coup and installing a “congressional dictatorship”. On the other hand, the Odebrech scandal also cast its shadow over President Kuczynski, who is suspected of receiving illegal campaign funding. At the same time, all former presidents since 2001 seemed to have received several million dollars in bribes, and in July the Prosecutor General’s Office ordered that Ollanta Humala (President 2011-16) and his wife be banned from departure pending further bribery investigations.
Already in April, President Kuczynski began publicly voicing the opportunity to pardon 78-year-old Alberto Fujimori, who has been in prison since 2005, and on Christmas Eve announced the president’s decision. It was speculated that the measure would be intended to appease the opposition and thereby avoid national law. But the decision instead triggered violent protests from other parties and human rights groups that categorically opposed the release of the president, still largely remembered for his political repression in the 1990s.