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Fujimori, Alberto (1938–)

Subject History

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


President of Peru (1990–). Born in Lima, the son of Japanese immigrants, he studied agriculture and mathematics at university. In the 1990 presidential election he stood as a candidate of his Cambio 90 Party, formed only six months before, and seemed a certain loser to the right-wing Democratic Front, led by the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. A public opinion poll at the beginning of March showed that he had 1 per cent support, though this had risen to 24 per cent by the time of the first round of the election in May. In the June run-off against Vargas Llosa he surprisingly won 57 per cent of the vote, with the support of the radical APRA and some left-wing parties. A further surprise was the adoption of the austerity measures proposed by his opponents to deal with the economic chaos he inherited. There was high unemployment, inflation of 2,700 per cent and an international debt of $20 billion. Without the ‘informal’ and illegal sectors (Peru produced 60 per cent of the coca leaf used in the production of cocaine, an industry which employed 300,000 and generated a billion dollars in foreign exchange) the economy would have collapsed. Fujimori abolished subsidies for consumers, so the price of petrol rose by 3,000 per cent and that of basic foods by between 300–600 per cent. This plunged Peru into recession but impressed the financial markets. Garcia's bank nationalization was repealed ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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