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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Peru's Humala vows to oppose Garcia

LIMA, Peru - Defiant in defeat, nationalist candidate Ollanta Humala vowed Wednesday to lead the opposition against President-elect Alan Garcia, ruling out any honeymoon period for the incoming administration.

"We are going to constitute the principal opposition bloc," Humala said in an hour-long meeting with foreign reporters. "Look at the political map. We are the primary political force."

With about 99 percent of the vote tabulated from Sunday's election, Garcia had an insurmountable 52.5 percent, compared to 47.5 for Humala, who was vigorously endorsed by Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. Many Peruvians saw him as unpredictable and dangerous to democracy.

His nationalist coalition won 45 seats in Peru's 120-member Congress in April 9 elections. Garcia's center-left Aprista party will have only 36 legislators.

"I don't have any confidence at all in Alan Garcia. He ran one of the worst governments in the history of Peru," Humala said, pledging to "inspect and criticize" the incoming government after Garcia is sworn in July 28.

Garcia's 1985-90 government turned Peru into an international pariah by draining the nation's reserves for populist spending and defiantly limiting foreign debt payments while an unchecked Maoist Shining Path insurgency grew in strength.

The president-elect insists he has learned from his mistakes and promises a more responsible second government.

Humala, who led a failed military uprising in 2000 against former President
Alberto Fujimori a month before his corruption-riddled regime's collapse, said Wednesday he would be respectful of Peru's democracy.
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