Alan Garcia, the most "convenient" president for Chile


Abril de 2006

The prevailing opinion among Chilean political observers is that the most "convenient" candidate for Chile as Peru's next elected president is former president and Social democrat leader Alan García.

Candidate Mr. Alan Garcia

Although Chilean authorities bilateral dialogue with whoever is elected Peruvian president in the May runoff will always be "complex", Mr. Garcia represents the "lesser risk", admits political scientist Guillermo Holzman from the University of Chile.

During a Monday evening television prime time program, Mr. Holzman nevertheless pointed out that both Ollanta Humala the winner of the first round last Sunday, as well as Mr. Garcia who apparently will be the other candidate in the run off have both insistently indicated that "Peru has several issues pending with Chile".

"Chile has a complex relation with Peru bilaterally. Let's not forget that the Peruvian Congress recently approved a new maritime limits legislation which infringes Chilean interests", highlighted Mr. Holzman.

He added that links between Chile and Peru are complex economically and financially in spite of the existent intense interaction and the significant Chilean investments in Peru, "and we also have the historical complexities".

"In no case can we say dialogue with Peru is easy, but rather it's built on the strength of history and the support of international law", added Mr. Holzman who believes that "from that perspective it's easier to talk with Alan Garcia" than with the leading candidate Humala, an ultra nationalist retired Army officer who has promised to promote Peruvian companies.

As to the current Peruvian political scenario, Mr. Holzman said that if ultra nationalist Humala is finally elected president, he will have a complicated relation with the other political forces in the country. "The populist leader, as a former Army officer does not have political experience or acumen, or hasn't shown it so far, and therefore his relation with Congress will not be that fluid and this will hinder his legislative agenda and projects".

Besides Mr. Holzman believes that Mr. Humala will face a strong opposition in Congress if the legislators from Mr Garcia and conservative Ms Lourdes Flores, --the third presidential candidate in an extremely tight race--, decide to vote jointly.

Actually according to the electoral results from last Sunday, in the new Congress (120 seats) Mr. Garcia's APRA will have the leading minority, followed by Lourdes Flores and Mr. Humala.Even former president Alberto Fujimori group is forecasted to garner 14/15 seats.

"This is another reason for believing that Mr Garcia is the most convenient next Peruvian president for Chile", concluded Mr. Holzman.