Peru’s engineer-turned-president Martin Vizcarra

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra called for a new vote of confidence [Mariana Bazo/Reuters]

Martin Vizcarra, former vice president of Peru, was sworn in as the new president on Friday after the Congress accepted the resignation of scandal-hit Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Vizcarra, 55, faces the task to restore trust in government as he serves out the term until July 2021.

Born in Lima in 1963, he is the son of Cesar Vizcarra, who served as mayor of Moquegua in southern Peru and as a member of the 1978-1979Constituent Assembly, and Doris Cornejo, a teacher.

He graduated from the National Engineering University in 1984 with a degree in civil engineering and later studied business administration.

Vizcarra worked in the construction sector as operations manager at the family-owned firm C&M Vizcarra (1992-2010) and was dean of the School of Engineering in Moquegua (2008-2009).

He first ran for public office in 2006, narrowly losing the governorship of Moquegua as candidate of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance, the same center-left party his father belonged to.

Though he lost, he remained politically active and ran again. In 2011, he was elected as the governor of Moquegua and served until the end of 2014.

During his term, Vizcarra was recognized for improving Moquegua’s living standards, and helping resolve a dispute in 2012 between the Anglo American mining company and the local community over water contamination at the Quellaveco copper mine.

Vizcarra joined Kuczynski’s 2016 presidential campaign as an adviser, and the pair narrowly defeated the Popular Force (FP) party’s candidate Keiko Fujimori in a runoff. The FP, however, won a controlling majority in the Congress.

Vizcarra also served in the cabinet as minister of transport and communications in 2016, but he resigned one year later amid questions over a delay in the construction of the Chinchero International Airport in Cusco, a city in southeastern Peru.

Shortly thereafter, he was named Peru’s ambassador to Canada in October 2017.

Vizcarra is married to Maribel Diaz, a teacher, and they have four children. Enditem


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