Learn more about Alejandro Toledo
| In office|
July 28 2001 – July 28 2006
|Preceded by||Valentín Paniagua|
|Succeeded by||Alan Garcia|
|Born|| March 28 1946|
|Political party||Perú Posible|
Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique (born 28 March 1946) is a Peruvian politician. He was the President of Peru from 2001 to 2006. He was elected in 2001 defeating former President Alan García. Toledo came to international prominence after leading the opposition against President Alberto Fujimori, who held the presidency from 1990 to 2000.
 Early years
Toledo is one of sixteen children of a family of indigenous Amerindian campesinos in the town of Cabana, province of Pallasca, Ancash region. He grew up in Chimbote, a city on Peru's northern coast. His father was a bricklayer and his mother was a fishmonger. As a child, he worked as a shoeshine boy.
Toledo studied at the local state school, G.U.E. San Pedro. At age 16, with the guidance of members of the Peace Corps, Toledo enrolled at the University of San Francisco on a one-year scholarship. He completed his bachelor's degree in economics by obtaining a partial soccer scholarship and working part-time pumping gas. Later on, he attended graduate school at Stanford University and received Master's in Economics, Master's in Education and completed his PhD in Education (in 1992) at the Stanford University School of Education. He then became a professor of Economics in the Universidad del Pacífico in Peru.
 Professional career
Before being elected president, Toledo worked as a consultant for various international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He has also been a regular professor at [ESAN] http://www.esan.edu.pe/, Peru's leading Business School. From  to , he was an affiliated researcher in the field of international development at the [Harvard Institute for International Development]. Toledo was also guest professor at the University of Waseda in Tokyo and at the Japan Foundation.
Among Toledo's publications are works on economic growth and on structural reforms. However, his latest book, Las Cartas sobre la mesa, describes his political career which led him to found the party Perú Posible ("Peru Possible").
 Political career
Toledo entered politics as an independent candidate for the presidency (gaining 3% of the electorate) in the 1995 election in which Fujimori was ultimately re-elected. He founded the Perú Posible party in 1999 and declared his intent to run in the 2000 election. Despite a constitutional controversy about his eligiblity to serve a third term, Fujimori once again announced his candidacy.
A relatively low-profile politician, Toledo suddenly found himself leader of the opposition against Fujimori, receiving the support of most of the other presidential candidates . Despite this, Fujimori managed to beat Toledo, amid allegations of electoral fraud. Toledo refused to participate on a second round against Fujimori (since none of them received at least 50% of the vote) and unsuccessfully petitioned to have the election annulled . He later announced his withdrawal , but the Jurado Nacional de Elecciones didn't receive this petition and proceeded with the vote. He received 17% of the vote .
On July 28,2000, Peruvian Independence Day, Fujimori assumed the presidency for a third term. Many protested against this, including Toledo, who led a group of protesters towards Congress, only to be met with tear gas. Although many of the thousands of protesters had been peaceful, several others were throwing rocks and setting government buildings on fire. Six persons were killed when a building was set ablaze apparently by protestors. Toledo's followers blamed Peru's Spy Chief for causing this fire; supporters of Fujimori blamed Toledo for instigating civil unrest and the nation was shocked to see the first civil unrest in the capital in a decade.
On November 2000, amid growing allegations of fraud and corruption within his administration, Fujimori agreed for new elections to be held in 2001 in which he would no longer be a candidate. While attending at the APEC forum in Brunei, Fujimori's party lost control of the Congress. Fujimori then went to Japan from where he submitted his resignation by fax and claimed Japanese citizenship.
After the fall of Fujimori, the new president of the Peruvian Congress, Valentín Paniagua, became interim president and oversaw the already planned new elections on May 29 2001. Toledo won after a close run-off election with former President Alan García of the APRA party. His margin of victory was slim (52.5% vs 47.5%), particularly in light of García's largely repudiated earlier presidential term (1985 to 1990). Toledo's inauguration took place on 28 July 2001.
 The presidency
Soon after coming to power, the Toledo administration has been plagued by ongoing civil unrest and civic discontent, due primarily to the perceived continuing stagnation of the Peruvian economy. On an international level, however, the Peruvian economy has performed well, averaging a 4% GDP rise from 2003. Despite this, more than fifty percent of the population continues to live in poverty, and fifteen percent in extreme poverty. Toledo promised an economic "chorreo" (gush), but instead many Peruvians perceive a "goteo" (drip).
In his election campaigns, Toledo promised "a break with the past", with particular reference to the corruption and patronage of the Fujimori regime. But many of the rank and file of Peru Posible joined the party with the hope of employment, and to stifle discontent within the ranks Toledo has been forced to open civil-service positions to party members.
In June 2002, the southern city of Arequipa was paralyzed for a week by strikes and riots in protest of the privatization of two regional electricity generating plants (two of the few that were not privatized under Fujimori's rule). The government had underestimated local resistance and was forced in the end to rescind the privatizations.
Toledo has also been troubled by controversies and scandals. Initially, his salary was pegged at USD18,000 per month, but this generated a huge outcry in a country where schoolteachers earn $100-$200 per month, and he later claimed it was reduced to $12,000. In 2002, after steadfastly denying it, he was forced to acknowledge the existence of illegitimate daughter, Zarai, then aged 13. In July 2004, in response to allegations of corruption, Toledo invited government auditors to examine his bank accounts.
In March 2005, another political storm arose, this time over whether his party, Perú Posible, with his blessing, forged thousands of signatures to register for the 2000 elections. A police report determined that 78 percent of the signatures were false; his sister, currently under house arrest, is accused of running a "forgery factory". Toledo finally agreed to talk to congressman Rafael Rey and other legislators investigating the matter after causing an outcry by ducking out of a planned meeting because he refused to have it recorded, and instead giving a television interview denying everything. 
In August 2005, the biggest scandal in the Toledo presidency occurred; Toledo, seemingly disconnected from public and political opinion, appointed the questionable Fernando Olivera as Foreign Minister, a move which prompted national outrage and the resignation of three other Ministers, including the Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero, causing, by law, the entire Cabinet automatically submit resignations (the law states that when the Prime Minister resigns, all Cabinet members must submit resignations and hold their charge until the new Prime Minister either ratifies them in their position or accepts their resignation). Toledo then further deepened the scandal by stating, in a press conference, that it was he who ordered his Cabinet to present their resignations, in clear opposition to the law. Though still an evolving situation, Olivera was forced to resign, causing him to be the shortest-serving Minister in the history of Peru. This prompted Olivera to break the Perú Posible - FIM alliance and forbid his party members to participate in any Cabinet positions or other positions of confidence.
When he was sworn into office in July 2001, Toledo had the support of 59% of the population. In March 2005, his popularity went down to 8%  — the lowest popularity rating of any South American president. In July 2005, his popularity had raised from 13.5% to 18%, probably due to the public works that his government was working on: the Camisea Gas Project, the construction of the Interoceanic Highway, and the 4%/yr growth in GDP. In August 2005, due to the Olivera scandal, his approval fell to 7%, a new record low. However, in the last few months Toledo's popularity has risen again as he currently has 48% of approval.
 Foreign policy
One of Toledo's major legacies could be the free trade agreement (TLC) reached with the US, which will remove barriers to trade in services between the two countries. The pact currently awaits the ratification by the Peruvian and US Congress said to take place in 2006. Toledo has also pushed for an FTA with Thailand, which was agreed to be implemented during 2006. In South America, Toledo has encouraged the start of the development of a highway to open Brazil and Bolivia to Pacific ports, aimed at enhancing the economy of southern Peru, and opening Peru to the trade flows from Brazil towards Asia. Also, he is considered as the promoter of the South American Community of Nations.
 See also
 External links
- Biography of Alejandro Toledo from Presidential Government Site
- Alejandro Toledo Ph.D in Education
- Peace Corps biography of Alejandro Toledo