Garcia criticized for not planning to attend presidential inauguration

President Alan Garcia, who will step down on Thursday, has come under criticism for saying that he plans not to attend the inauguration of President-elect Ollanta Humala.

Tradition in Peru is for the outgoing president to deliver the presidential sash to the incoming president during the swearing-in ceremony at Congress.

Former President Alejandro Toledo called on Garcia to “respect democratic tradition and hand over the presidential sash to his successor in Congress, in respect of the people.”

Garcia said he plans not to attend the ceremony because political opponents could heckle him as they did at the end of his first term in 1990. At the time, Garcia left Peru in a severe crisis, with the country battling hyperinflation and bloody left-wing insurgents, and at the inauguration of now jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori, Garcia was taunted by raucus opposition lawmakers.

Questioned about his decision by reporters on Monday, Garcia said that he may reconsider his decision if Humala and Toledo can guarantee that members of their Gana Peru and Peru Posible parties, respectively, agree to respect his presence.

“If they guarantee the respect of the President of the Republic, if they guarantee that there is no circus or ambush, I’ll go,” Garcia said.

Humala will assume office for a five-year term on July 28. The ceremonies begin with a Te Deum mass at the cathedral, officiated by Cardinal Luis Cipriani, followed by his induction at Congress and his first address to the nation. A reception is held later in the day in the Government Palace to receive congratulations from leaders of private and government institutions and the foreign diplomatic corps.

On Monday, Peru’s Congress swore in 130 new lawmakers. The biggest block in the next Congress will be Gana Peru, although it does not have a majority. Ex-presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori’s Fuerza 2011 party is the next largest block, followed by Toledo’s Peru Posible party. Garcia’s ruling Aprista party will be significantly weaker in the new Congress, with only four seats.

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One Comment

  1. Garcia is what he looks like:
    -a nerd & heckle chiicken…

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