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Peru’s Asian populist

Alberto Fujimori, Peru's president of Japanese origin, is set to become one of Latin America's longest surviving political leaders. Janet Bush surveys the strategy of a man who strives to combine democracy with autocracy, and free market reforms with Asian-style social development

By Janet Bush   October 1996

Perched stiff-backed on a large gold and brocade chair in his palace, Alberto Fujimori rifled through the inside pocket of his suit and took out a crumpled piece of paper. On it were various scribbled aides-m?moires. Privatise that tourist hotel in the north. Think about the link between education and employment. Send the labour minister to open the new technical institute. Promote the cause of women.

The president of Peru writes policy on the back of an envelope, running the country with a telephone and a Toshiba laptop: a cut-price Ross Perot, too poor to campaign by tele-conference and satellite,…

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