Toledo Manrique, Alejandro

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Toledo Manrique, Alejandro

Alejandro Toledo Manrique, 1946–, Peruvian political leader, president of Peru (2001–6). Toledo, who has indigenous Andean roots, was born into poverty in rural Peru and grew up in the port city of Chimbote. Industrious, ambitious, and charming, he won scholarships to the Univ. of San Francisco, Harvard, and Stanford, where he obtained a Ph.D. A business-school professor and an official at the World Bank, Toledo became involved in Peruvian politics as an opponent of the authoritarian policies of President Alberto Fujimori. Although Toledo had never before held or run for elective office, he formed a coalition consisting of the urban lower middle class, rural Indians, and Lima's elite, and forced Fujimori into a runoff in 2000. Fearing fraud, Toledo withdrew from the runoff, but after Fujimori fled Peru and resigned (2000), Toledo defeated former president Alan García in the 2001 presidential elections. Toledo promised to fight corruption, guarantee judicial independence, and cut military spending, but subsequent scandals and ineffectual government made him extremely unpopular. Although Peru's economy improved during his presidency, the nation's poor did not benefit. In 2006 Toledo was accused of forgery and falsifying signatures in registering his party for the 2000 elections; the former president denounced the charges as political persecution. In the 2011 presidential elections he placed fourth in the first round.

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