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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 13:02 GMT 14:02 UK
Media see tough challenges for Garcia
New Peruvian president Alan Garcia speaks during the elections
Mr Garcia completed a remarkable comeback

The media in Peru and neighbouring countries believe that Alan Garcia will have his work cut out to turn Peru into a successful 21st Century nation.

Most Peruvian commentators are pleased Sunday's election run-off between Mr Garcia and leftist candidate Ollanta Humala served to confirm the country's democratic credentials, but there are warnings that Mr Garcia has a mountain to climb to improve the lot of millions of poor Peruvians.

In neighbouring countries, commentators argue that the result reflects the divisions in Peru. This point is highlighted in a television interview in Venezuela, whose president, Hugo Chavez, was backing a Humala victory, sparking off a row with the Garcia camp in Peru.

An editorial in Peru's La Republica welcomes the "affirmation of our belief in democracy".

The country is a time bomb because the fruits of progress only reach a privileged sector

"But although the country has done its duty and has made its voice heard at the polls, there is a long list of pending issues. And perhaps the first is to build a fairer country, a country in which the gap between the rich and the poor is reduced, and in which huge sectors of the population are not left outside the benefits of economic growth."

An editorial in Expresso calls on Peruvian businessmen and entrepreneurs to join hands with Mr Garcia to ensure a framework is in place to attract major investment.

"Peru has no more time to play with. We need major investment to tackle the huge social problems we face, particularly in the interior of the country.

"It is perfectly reasonable to align the demands of the market with policies of redistribution and greater social inclusion. Peru will only be able to progress if capital and labour work in tandem."

'Time bomb'

Writing on the Peru21.com website, its director pulls no punches. "The country is a time bomb because the fruits of progress only reach a privileged sector and don't reach the majority of the population."

Noting that the electorate gave Mr Garcia a second chance after he left the country in a shambles first time round, the writer says he will "need to govern with efficiency, decency and honesty and humility, something he failed to do before".

Mr Garcia will need to reach out to the many millions of Humala supporters who did not support him, and genuinely improve their lives, he concludes.

Peru said no to the damaging and shameless interference of Chavez
Peru's El Comercio

A similar argument is made in Correo, where a commentator says the new president "will need to adopt some Humala policies to counteract his influence".

Lima's conservative El Comercio weighs in to the row with Venezuela, commenting "Peru said no to the damaging and shameless interference of Chavez, who became an important factor in Humala's defeat".

"From a broader perspective, Alan Garcia's victory restores stability to the Latin American sub-region, which is being threatened by the Chavist plan to use [Chavez's Venezuelan] petro-dollars as blackmail to get more countries to join the grim Havana-Caracas-La Paz axis."

'Divided nation'

A different opinion emerges in an interview with the Caracas-based, pro-Chavez pan-regional TV Telesur. Commentator Raul Weiner says he believes the Garcia victory indicates that Peru "had failed to learn from its own experiences" and "is likely to experience some very difficult situations".

"The result fails to reflect the popular feeling, on the contrary it reflects the reality of a divided nation," he adds.

Writing in Buenos Aires' La Nacion, Dolores Tereso agrees. The tight result reflects the country's "profound division", she argues.

[The result] does not accompany the revolutionary process being followed by Latin America
Quote in Bolivia's La Prensa

Mr Garcia will have no honeymoon period and much of his success will depend on Mr Humala's tolerance and cooperation.

In Bolivia, La Prensa reports both sides of the Venezuela angle. It quotes the social democrat Senator Walter Guiteras as saying the result reflected the "dignity" of Peruvians in the face of Mr Chavez's blatant interference.

However, a Movement Towards Socialism MP says the Garcia victory "does not accompany the revolutionary process being followed by Latin America".

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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