* Humala's official plan calls for state-run pensions
* Candidate backtracks
* Finance minister says studying ways to protect funds
LIMA, April 19 Left-wing presidential candidate
Ollanta Humala vowed on Tuesday to leave Peru's $30 billion in
pension funds in private hands, even though his campaign
platform calls for replacing them with a government-run
It was the second move in as many days by Humala that aimed
to appease investors.
Humala, a former army officer who won the first-round vote
on April 10 with almost 32 percent of the vote, faces a June 5
run-off against right-wing lawmaker Keiko Fujimori that is
expected to be tight. He has adopted an increasingly moderate
tone as he campaigns.
Critics have said Humala's official pension plan could
jeopardize a key pillar of the country's market-based growth
model in one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
The privately run funds, known as AFPs, are the biggest
investors in Peru's stock market and, to a lesser extent, in
housing construction and infrastructure. They also buy
Humala's plan would establish a public pension system to
which all classes of workers would be required to contribute
based on income.
It would also guarantee a minimum pension to all
individuals over 65, mainly to ensure workers who toiled in the
vast informal sector have a basic safety net.
The plan says any future contributions to the private
pension system, which was set up in the 1990s, would be
optional and only complement the public system. Workers in all
sectors, even public-sector workers, contribute to the
privately run system.
"We guarantee that we won't touch the AFPs," Humala said on
Tuesday, referring to workers' savings that are in funds
managed by private banks. "We want to give confidence to the
FINANCE MINISTER STUDIES SAFEGUARDS
Finance Minister Ismael Benavides said he was studying ways
to safeguard private pension funds from any legal changes
carried out by the next government.
"We're not trying to protect the profits of pension fund
companies, but rather the savings of the Peruvian people,"
Benavides said in the latest sign the outgoing government does
not fully trust Humala's pledge to manage the economy
prudently, the newspaper Gestion reported.
Humala on Monday added experienced technocrats to his
campaign team, leading analysts to say he might revise his
official campaign platform. [ID:nN1821532]
Humala won the first-round vote by promising to better
distribute the fruits of a decade-long economic boom in a
country that still has a poverty rate of around 35 percent.
Investors have sold assets in Peru's stock market .IGRA
and the local sol currency PEN=PE since the election.
(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer and Marco Aquino)