Peru Keeps Driving Right

The Latin American success story elects a center-right reformer.

 
 
More good news from Latin America, if you can stand it. Center-right candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has won Peru’s presidential runoff election. Can Peruvians export whatever they’re drinking to Europe, or the U.S.?

Peru has been one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies, with a falling poverty rate, but slower growth of late has not kept up with rising middle-class expectations. Without deeper reforms, Peru’s capitalist revolution could stall.

Mr. Kuczynski, known as PPK, arrives right on time, even if his margin was merely 40,000 or so votes. Though his rival Keiko Fujimori lost her bid to follow her father and former president Alberto Fujimori, her Popular Force Party won 56% of congress versus 14% for Mr. Kuczynski’s party.

Peruvians seem to prefer divided power.

Peru’s large black market continues to be a drag on development because it can’t provide access to credit. Mr. Kuczynski, a former finance minister and successful investment banker, made this an issue in the campaign. He argued that by cutting taxes and reducing the regulatory burden he could bring entrepreneurs into the formal economy and boost government revenues. With greater resources he promised to improve public security and make running water available to all Peruvians.

Mr. Kuczynski’s victory follows Argentina’s turn away from Peronism in November, and Brazil’s tentative steps toward pro-growth economics and cleaning up corruption. Let’s hope he can keep the free-market momentum going in Lima and show how a more open, transparent economy can spread prosperity to even the poorest parts of the country.

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