LIMA - Peruvian economist and former minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, 77, puts the finishing touch to his extensive political career with a virtual victory in Peru's presidential elections.
With 100 percent of the votes processed and 99.77 percent counted, Kuczynski garnered 50.12 percent of votes compared to 49.87 percent for his rival Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the incarcerated former president Alberto Fujimori, a narrow margin achieved partly due to support from other political forces to prevent the return of 'Fujimorismo'.
After serving as general manager of Peru's Central Bank and economy and prime minister under the presidency's of Fernando Belaunde Terry and Alejandro Toledo, the presumptive president will succeed Ollanta Humala whose mandate will end on Jul. 26.
The Peruvians for Change (PPK) party candidate clinched his virtual victory in the elections after announcing his candidacy for president in 2011 but failed to progress to the second round and eventually endorsed Keiko Fujimori against Humala.
Kuczynski entered the race this time as the veteran economist who, as economy minister under Toledo, contributed to the recovery of the country from the crisis and corruption left by Alberto Fujimori, who since 2009 is serving a 25-year sentence in prison for violation of human rights and corruption.
His opponents, however, attacked him for his actions during his term as minister such as giving tax benefits to foreign companies and awarding the contract for exploitation at the Camisea gas field in southern Peru through contacts.
Other criticisms against Kuczynski are his US citizenship, which he claimed to have renounced in 2015, and for having spent five days traveling in the United States during the campaign for the second round of the elections.
Apart from the passport, he is branded 'criollo gringo' (a term used to describe a person born in the Americas but of European ancestry) because he was born in Lima in 1938 to Jewish-German doctor Maxime Kuczynski, who fled Nazism and came to Peru to study tropical diseases in the Amazon rainforest, and the French-Swiss Madeleine Godard, aunt of renowned filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard.