Former president Alan Garcia has beaten his rival, ex-army commander Ollanta Humala, in Peru’s run-off election. The result is effectively a political comeback for Garcia, after his government in the 1980s ended in economic disarray, violence and reports of human rights abuses.
With 77 percent of the ballot papers counted, Garcia has won 55 percent of the vote with Humala on 45 percent. Commentators say the public has had to choose between the lesser of two evils.The news will come as a blow to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who, as Garcia says, made no secret of his support for Humala: “Today, Peru has sent a message of national sovereignty and has defeated efforts by Hugo Chavez to incorporate us in the expansion strategy of his military and backward-looking model, which he has tried to implant in Latin America,” said Garcia. Garcia’s opponent has conceded defeat.
Experts say Humala’s campaign was undermined by his plans to put the economy in state hands and also by the continuing support he enjoys from the Venezuelan president.