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Alejandro Toledo

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Alejandro Toledo Manrique
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Alejandro Toledo

Full Title: President of Peru
Term in Office: July 28, 2001 – Present
Predecessor: Valentín Paniagua Corazao
Successor: Incumbent
Date of Birth: March 28 1946
First Lady: Eliane Karp
Political party: Perú Posible
Profession: Economist

Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique (born 28 March 1946) is the current President of Peru. He was elected in 2001 defeating former President Alan García. Toledo came to international prominence after leading the opposition against President Alberto Fujimori, who held the presidency from 1990 to 2000. Toledo is married to the French anthropologist Eliane Karp.

Contents

Biography

Early years

Toledo was one of sixteen children of a family of indigenous campesinos in the town of Cabana, province of Pallasca, Ancash region. He grew up in Chimbote, a city on Peru's northern coast. His father was a bricklayer and his mother was a fishmonger. As a child, he worked as a shoeshine boy.

Toledo studied at the local state school, G.U.E. San Pedro. At age 16, with the guidance of members of the Peace Corps, Toledo enrolled at the University of San Francisco on a one-year scholarship. He completed his bachelor's degree in economics by obtaining a partial soccer scholarship and working part-time pumping gas. Later on, he completed his Ph.D in economics and human resources at Stanford University. He then became a professor of Economics in the Universidad del Pacifico in Peru.

Professional Career

Before being elected president, Toledo worked as a consultant for various international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He has also been a regular professor at ESAN, Peru's leading Business School. From 1991 to 1994, he was an affiliated researcher in the field of international development at the Harvard Institute for International Development. Toledo was also guest professor at the University of Waseda and the Japan Foundation in Tokyo.

Among Toledo's publications are works on economic growth and on structural reforms. However, his latest book, Las Cartas sobre la mesa, describes his political career which led him to found the party Perú Posible ("Peru Possible").

Political Career

Toledo entered politics as an independent candidate for the presidency (gaining 3% of the electorate) in the 1995 election in which Fujimori was ultimately re-elected. He founded the Perú Posible party in 1999 and declared his intent to run in the 2000 election. Despite a constitutional controversy about his eligiblity to serve a third term, Fujimori once again announced his candidacy.

A relatively low-profile politician, Toledo suddenly found himself leader of the opposition against Fujimori, receiving the support of most of the other presidential candidates [1] (http://www.peru.com/ivota/noticias/archivo/index20000411.asp). Despite this, Fujimori managed to beat Toledo, amid allegations of electoral fraud. Toledo refused to participate on a 2th round against Fujimori (since none of them received at least 50% of the vote) and unsuccesfully petitioned to have the election annulled [2] (http://www.peru.com/ivota/noticias/archivo/index20000414.asp). He later announced his withdrawal [3] (http://www.peru.com/ivota/noticias/archivo/index20000426.asp), but the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones didn't recieve this petition and proceded with the vote. He received 17% of the vote [4] (http://www.peru.com/ivota/noticias/archivo/index20000523.asp).

On November 2000, amid growing allegations of fraud and corruption within his administration, Fujimori agreed for new elections to be held in 2001 in which he would no longer be a candidate. While attending at the APEC forum in Brunei, Fujimori's party lost control of the Congress. Fujimori then went to Japan from where he submitted his resignation by fax and claimed Japanese citizenship.

After the fall of Fujimori, the new president of the Peruvian Congress, Valentín Paniagua, became interim president and oversaw the already planned new elections on May 29 2001. Toledo won after a close run-off election with former President Alan García of the APRA party. His margin of victory was slim (52.5% vs 47.5%), particularly in light of García's largely repudiated earlier presidential term (1985 to 1990). Toledo's inauguration took place on 28 July 2001.

The Toledo presidency

Since coming to power, the Toledo administration has been plagued by ongoing civil unrest and civic discontent, due primarily to the continuing stagnation of the Peruvian economy, which the current government's economic policies have failed to assuage. In his electoral campaigns, Toledo promised "a break with the past", in particular with the corruption and patronage of the Fujimori regime. But many of the rank and file of Peru Possible joined the party with the hope of a job, and to stifle discontent within the ranks Toledo has been forced to open civil-service positions to party members, an obvious step backward.

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Alejandro Toledo and United States President George W. Bush while on his trip to Peru in 2002.

In June 2002, the southern city of Arequipa was paralyzed for a week by strikes and riots in protest of the privatization of two regional electricity generating plants, the largest civil unrest in Peru for fifty years. The government had underestimated local resistance and was forced in the end to rescind the privatizations. The affair sent a clear message to the Toledo administration that its policies are highly unpopular. Despite macroeconomic growth (4.9% for 2002), this doesn't reflect on the society: still more than fifty percent of the population is living in poverty, and fifteen percent in extreme poverty.

Toledo has also been troubled by controversies and scandals. Initially, his salary was pegged at USD18,000 per month, but this generated a huge outcry in a country where schoolteachers earn $100-$200 per month, and he later claimed it was reduced to $12,000. In 2002, after steadfastly denying it, he was forced to acknowledge the existence of illegitimate daughter, Zarai, then aged 13. In July 2004, in response to allegations of corruption, Toledo invited government auditors to examine his bank accounts.

In March 2005, another political storm arose, this time over whether his party, Perú Posible, with his blessing, forged thousands of signatures to register for the 2000 elections. A police report determined that 78 percent of the signatures were false; his sister, currently under house arrest, is accused of running a "forgery factory". Toledo finally agreed to talk to congressman Rafael Rey and other legislators investigating the matter after causing an outcry by ducking out of a planned meeting because he refused to have it recorded, and instead giving a television interview denying everything. The issue has become the most serious scandal of his presidency. [5] (http://english.epochtimes.com/news/5-3-23/27291.html)

When he was sworn into office in July 2001, Toledo had the support of 59% of the population. As of March 2005, his popularity is down to 8% [6] (http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewItem&itemID=6560) — the lowest popularity rating of any South American president.



Preceded by:
Valentín Paniagua Corazao
President of Peru
2000 – 2006
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

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See also

External links

es:Alejandro Toledo Manrique fr:Alejandro Toledo Manrique gl:Alejandro Toledo pt:Alejandro Toledo sv:Alejandro Toledo Manrique zh:亞歷杭德羅·托萊多

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