Following three weeks of meetings with leaders of the country’s different political groups, Prime Minister Juan Jimenez believes that the government’s willingness to listen to opinions and suggestions from its political opponents has improved the country’s political climate, daily Peru.21 reported.
“In one way, we are now feeling in the country how this process of coming together between the political forces has improved the scenario in the country,” he said.
“The tension that we’ve seen in the past few weeks, in the past months, with regards to how politics was being practice in Peru… was a factor that has been much criticized by the population,” he added, citing “bickering, insults, offensive attacks from one side to another.”
Jimenez and other members of President Ollanta Humala’s administration have held meetings with all the key political groups in Peru in recent weeks, including with its former Premier, Salomon Lerner Ghitis. At the meetings, political leaders have discussed issues relating to the economy and other challenges the country faces.
The meetings came following a sharp decline in the approval rating of President Humala, who completed his second year in government at the end of July. Humala’s approval rating has fallen in part due to several political controversies, as well as slowing economic activity.
In mid-August, President Humala said the world economic crisis “has arrived in Peru, which is why we have had a sharp drop in the canon [mining tax], affecting the regions.” His statement, although followed by a call to join forces for wise investment and policies into the future, was sharply criticized by former President Alan Garcia and Fuerza Popular leader Keiko Fujimori as being “irresponsible” and also by private industry leaders.
Ipsos opinion poll president, Alfredo Torres, said Ollanta had made a mistake because it would affect future decisions by home-makers and businesses. “If the president tells them a crisis is coming, companies and families reduce their investment because the future looks dark.”
Humala’s call for opposition leaders to meet with his cabinet chief, Juan Jimenez, was initially rejected by the Fujimoristas and by Alan Garcia’s Apra party, who demanded the resignation of Jimenez and Economy minister Luis Castilla before even considering Humala’s invitation. The willingness of other parties to sit down with the government, however, finally led Apra to go less adamantly to the table. Keiko Fujimori, following President Humala’s refusal to pardon her father, former President Alberto Fujimori, did not attend the meeting but Fuerza Popular was represented by Jaime Yoshiyama.
Following these initial meetings, Premier Jimenez said that President Humala would begin work meetings with his political opponents.