Jul 22, 2021 - World

The challenges awaiting Peru’s new president

A masked crowd of individuals at night

Supporters of Peru’s President-elect Pedro Castillo celebrate in Lima after he was formally declared the winner on July 20. Photo: Klebher Vasquez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Teacher Pedro Castillo was finally confirmed as the winner of Peru’s June 6 elections after a drawn-out battle with his rival Keiko Fujimori, who alleged fraud. But the greatest challenges are the ones to come.

What’s happening: Peru faces concurrent crises from having the world’s highest coronavirus death rate per capita, the pandemic plunging a third of the population into poverty, and long-standing distrust in political institutions.

  • Castillo will be the fifth president in as many years, after a series of removals by Congress, planned impeachments and forced resignations over corruption allegations and accusations of police brutality.
  • He faces a country divided by the electoral battle and a highly divided Congress. Perú Libre, the leftist party that nominated him, has 37 seats, while his electoral rival Fuerza Libre and allied right parties have 49.

What to watch: The former teacher’s union leader says an initial focus of his presidency will be a new constitution “to put an end to sexist, classist and racist discrimination against Andean, Amazonian, Afrodescendant and vulnerable populations.”

  • Castillo has also promised an emergency plan to set up more ICUs and accelerate vaccinations as Peru faces the highly contagious Lambda and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Looking ahead: Castillo’s inauguration is scheduled for July 28, and he needs to form the cabinet before that.

  • That cabinet will reportedly be composed of technocrats to address concerns that Castillo, who says he is a Marxist, will derail the economy.
Go deeper