After a rollicking election, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office as Peru’s new president yesterday. To fulfill his broad pledges for Peru’s economy—mainly, to maintain market-friendly policies while reducing poverty—his administration will need to move quickly and decisively on several issues, especially the energy sector.
Kuczynski has committed to closing the gap for access to electricity in Peru by 2020, but that requires efforts aimed at improving power distribution across the country—no easy task. He has prioritized natural gas as a power source, focusing on completing a touted but stalled pipeline connecting the Camisea gas fields in Cusco to Peru’s southern coast; revisiting his predecessor’s so-called natural gas massification initiative; and setting a policy course for regional energy integration. To further develop the energy sector, his government must also assess the climate for upstream and natural gas exploration and production and find ways to improve the energy sector’s social and environmental management.
Kuczynski won Peru’s June 5 run-off election by the narrowest of margins, completing a come-from-behind victory that few expected. Out of 18 million votes cast, Kucyzinski defeated his opponent, Keiko Fujimori, by just over 41,000. Fujimori, the daughter of the jailed former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, lost her second consecutive presidential election, though her party gained a majority in Peru’s Congress. In addition to having to work with Fujimori’s Popular Force party on legislation, Kuczynski needs to figure out how to repay the endorsement of Veronika Mendoza, who finished third in the first round and threw her left-wing support to him in the run-off.