LIMA – Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the leader of the opposition Popular Force party, Keiko Fujimori, met on Monday at the home of Peruvian Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani for a “useful, frank and constructive” dialogue, according to what the president said after the encounter.
Kuczynski and Fujimori came to the meeting called by Cipriani to foster dialogue between them after Congress, where the Popular Force dominates with 72 of the 130 seats, last week censured the former education minister, Jaime Saavedra.
The meeting was the first between Kuczynski and Fujimori since the president defeated her in last June’s elections, and it came after several weeks of harsh confrontations between the executive branch and the legislature.
After talking for about an hour, the pair emerged accompanied by Cipriani to offer a statement, but they did not take any questions from reporters.
Cipriani thanked the pair for agreeing to the meeting and praised “the atmosphere of closeness, fraternity, in which they have been able to converse.”
Kuczynski said that it was “a very useful, frank and constructive” conversation” in which they focused “on the issues of the present and the future.”
“Peru has great challenges ahead of it, we all know them, we agree greatly on the majority of them and our task is to take the country forward, and we in the executive branch and the Congress are going to do that,” he added.
He also admitted that “there will always be a small difference here and there,” but he said that he did not doubt that they will be able “to work together to achieve a Peru that gets to 2021 with prosperity and modernity.”
Fujimori, meanwhile, thanked Cipriani for his efforts in bringing the meeting about and said that she agreed “that this dialogue was frank, direct.”
“I’m sure that it will bring positive (benefits) for our country,” she said, adding that Popular Force “will respect and strengthen” the country’s democracy and the constitutional order.
The Fujimori-backing lawmakers, along with others, voted to censure Saavedra after he was accused of corruption in office and delays in the Pan-American Games construction projects.
He was replaced by the president on Sunday, with educator Marilu Martens taking over his portfolio and committing herself to continue with Peru’s educational reform.