Associates of Peru's president-elect attempt to calm investor fears after market plunge


By Associated Press

LIMA, Peru -- Associates of Peru's new left-leaning president-elect did their best to calm investor fears, and the stock market rebounded Tuesday after plunging on concerns Ollanta Humala will be hostile to private enterprise.

Humala's vice president-elect and a member of his economic team both assured the business community that the winner of Sunday's presidential runoff will maintain the country's fiscal policies, with an emphasis on social programs.

The stock market rose by 7 percent by Tuesday afternoon after diving by more than 12 percent Monday. Humala narrowly defeated the daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori on Sunday.

With nearly 96 percent of the ballots counted, Humala had received 51.6 percent of the vote to Keiko Fujimori's 48.4 percent.

Members of the business and opposition political communities demanded Tuesday that Humala quickly announce his economy minister and other Cabinet members, as well as who will head the Central Bank. As a candidate, Humala had stoked worried that he would pursue more interventionist, anti-free market policies after aligning himself with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his last presidential campaign in 2006.

"We have to ask for certainty ... and also request that they not take more than the time that is necessary (to name ministers), which would generate more uncertainty," said Marisol Perez Tello, a congresswoman-elect from the right.

Economist Kurt Burneo, a member of Humala's financial team, told a news conference Tuesday there was no reason for concern.

"There was going to be some volatility Monday ... but the idea was to recover and that's what we're seeing today," he said. "It couldn't be otherwise, because the foundations of our macroeconomy are very solid."

Earlier Tuesday, Borneo told Peru's Channel 5 television station that the new government will maintain the country's general fiscal policies.

"The only different element of Ollanta Humala's economic policy is a particular emphasis on social programs," he said.

Humala himself was quoted by the government news agency Andina as saying Tuesday, "I ask the country to remain calm. We are doing our best and we have to continue working."

Humala, a 48-year-old political novice and former army lieutenant colonel, has promised to make Peru "more just and less unequal," with "an economy that serves as a motor for social inclusion."

But he said he would so without following the path of a man he once openly admired: Chavez, who has nationalized industries, scared off investors and alienated the wealthy.

Unlike in his first unsuccessful 2006 run for president, when he projected the image of a radical leftist in Chavez's mold, this time around Humala has been praising the Brazilian approach of attacking poverty while honoring the free market and private property.

Mostly due to a mining boom, Peru has experienced a decade of growth averaging 7 percent annually.

Humala "has rejected whatever type of economic model that could be authoritarian," Vice President-elect Marisol Espinoza told radio station La FM on Tuesday.

"We have been elected by the Peruvian people. We have a constitutional mandate and we are going to govern, fundamentally, through democratic principles."

Humala named a transition team Monday. He takes office on July 28.