Ollanta Humala sworn in as president
The left wing winner of the presidential election which has dominated the country for the past six months, Ollanta Humala, was finally sworn in yesterday. And his first act was to introduce a two stage 25% increase in the monthly minimum wage, taking it up to 750 soles per month.
The new president also promised an increase in pensions for over 65s and repeated his campaign pledge that social benefit increases would be funded by higher taxes on mining companies.
Despite these remarks, most analysts felt that the speech was generally market friendly, and over the past week he has started announcing a Cabinet which appears to be market friendly, even slightly right wing. The new president also announced a new ministry, the Ministry of Development and Inclusion whose aims will be to ensure a fairer and more socially just society.
More controversially Ollanta Humala pledged to follow the principles of the 1979 constitution and not the current 1993 constitution which was brought in by Alberto Fujimori. In the first round of the presidential election Humala had pledged a revision of the current constitution, leading to fears that he wanted to introduce changes similar to those made by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. In the second round Humala appeared to backtrack on those pledges because of their unpopularity, but now he has raised the spectre once more that he might want to make constitutional changes.
He will, however, have some difficulty in making the changes through a parliament in which he does not hold a majority.