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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 17:56 GMT 18:56 UK
Garcia proposes thaw with Chavez
Alan Garcia
Garcia admitted to "errors" when he was last president
Peru's president-elect, Alan Garcia, says he wants good relations with Venezuela, despite angry barbs exchanged during the election campaign.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez openly supported Mr Garcia's rival, Ollanta Humala.

Mr Garcia won over 53% of the vote, according to an official count.

Peruvian Prime Minister Pedro Kuczynski has said he is confident that Mr Garcia will not to repeat the mistakes of his first term in the 1980s.

Mr Garcia said on Tuesday: "I hope to strengthen good relations with respect with Venezuela, I insist on respect, and we are not interested in leading a continental anti-Chavez movement."

"As long as there is not interference in internal matters, we are interested in normal relations."

We can only pray to God that there will be a real change with Garcia at the helm
Nestor Matos, Lima resident

Shortly after his victory was proclaimed, he had declared that it was a blow for Mr Chavez.

"Today, the majority of the country has delivered a message in favour of national independence, of national sovereignty," he said.

"They have defeated the efforts by Mr Hugo Chavez to integrate us into his militaristic and backwards expansion project he intends to impose over South America. Today, Peru has said no."

The two countries withdrew their ambassadors last month amid recriminations over Mr Chavez's alleged meddling in the election.

During the race Mr Chavez called Mr Garcia "corrupt", a "rogue" and a "cheat".

The Venezuelan deputy foreign minister said Mr Garcia's election would not bring about an immediate change in bilateral relations.

'Past errors'

Meanwhile Prime Minister Kuczynski told the BBC he believed that Mr Garcia had a much better team and was much more aware than in his first term, when Peru suffered from hyperinflation and a Maoist insurgency.

Hugo Chavez
Hugo Chavez openly supported Alan Garcia's opponent

He also said he was inheriting a much healthier economy.

Mr Kuczynski - an independent who is close to the outgoing president, Alejandro Toledo - said the new president should build on the good work done by the current administration.

"What Garcia has to do, obviously, is to press on with the infrastructure programme, particularly up in the Andes," he said.

He should also concentrate on "maintaining the good growth and economic performance we had... and emphasising the poverty programmes without wasting money", Mr Kuczynski added.

Many voters also expressed a hope that Mr Garcia had learned from his first term.

GARCIA'S PLANS
Prudent fiscal management
Slash government spending
Encourage foreign investment
Ensure foreign companies pay more taxes
Tough on crime
Wants free trade agreement with US revised

"It's a good thing that Alan won. Better a thief you know than one you don't," says shop owner Yohana Rios in Lima.

"We can only pray to God that there will be a real change with Garcia at the helm," said 47-year-old Nestor Matos.

The BBC's Daniel Schweimler in Lima says Mr Garcia's biggest challenge now is to unite a politically divided country.

The new president acknowledged "past errors" and promised to work to ensure development in the impoverished south of the country, where Mr Humala received strong support.


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