The limits of technocratic government

THEY might not have realised it, but Peruvians got three presidents for the price of one when they narrowly voted for Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in an election in June. Over a long career, Mr Kuczynski has been an investment banker, a multinational business manager and a public servant. These identities have each been on display in his first 100 days in office.

The investment banker is a libertarian who wants to cut taxes. The business manager has shown energy and drive in trying to cut through red tape holding up infrastructure projects worth some $19bn. The public servant has promised stronger democratic institutions and a “social revolution” in a country which, for all its recent progress, is still marked by poor public services that require higher tax revenues to fix. Seemingly missing in the new president is the political guile to reconcile these contradictions.

Mr Kuczynski is still enjoying a honeymoon. Coming after a lacklustre predecessor, Ollanta Humala, he is a refreshing change. He cracks bad jokes, is transparently decent and well intentioned, and he often speaks his mind. While other Latin American presidents have been…Continue reading

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