June 15 (Reuters) - Peru’s president-elect, left-wing former army officer Ollanta Humala, has sought to reassure investors and neighboring countries that he has shed his radical past and will adhere to responsible economic policies after he takes office on July 28.
Financial markets in the fast-growing economy have been volatile since Humala’s victory on June 5 and are anxious to see if moderates will be appointed to his cabinet.
Vice President-elect Marisol Espinoza has said the cabinet would be named between July 10 and 15.
Here is a rundown of potential candidates for key posts, according to members of Humala’s camp, local media reports and analysts.
Beatriz Merino, 63, is considered the top candidate to run Humala’s cabinet as prime minister. A highly respected political independent, she has been a legislator, the head of Peru’s human rights office, the head of the country’s tax agency, and briefly prime minister under former President Alejandro Toledo, a moderate.
She is currently the head of Peru’s association of private pension funds and, if chosen, could help the government calm debilitating social conflicts over natural resources that pit restive towns in the provinces against big mining and oil companies.
Vice President-elect Espinoza has strongly endorsed her, calling Merino “a perfect fit” for the job.
Daniel Abugattas, a legislator from Humala’s Nationalist Party who was a top aide during the presidential campaign, has also been mentioned as a potential prime minister.
Kurt Burneo, an economics professor at the San Ignacio de Loyola University, is seen as the front-runner for Finance Minister. He has a doctorate in business administration and has been a vice finance minister, central bank director and president of state-run Banco de la Nacion.
Felix Jimenez, an economics professor at Lima’s Catholic University, authored Humala’s campaign platform, which was watered down after critics said it was too radical. He previously was a director in the finance ministry’s debt department. Jimenez has a doctorate in economics from the New School in New York.
Ramon Barua, an economist and top executive at the Peruvian banking group Interbank, has also been mentioned in finance circles as a contender for the job.
Oscar Dancourt, an economics professor at Lima’s Catholic University, is being talked about as a strong contender to replace central bank chief Julio Velarde. Dancourt has previously been a director and president of Peru’s central bank.
Some people in Peru’s finance community would like to see Velarde stay in his job. Velarde is widely viewed as Peru’s most successful central banker ever, having previously conquered hyperinflation and averted deflation. Humala has said his central banker will keep the current inflation-targeting system intact.
Among the names being mentioned are Carlos Herrera, who opened up Peru’s natural gas fields to foreign investors during Toledo’s government.
Other possibilities include sociologist Manuel Dammert, who leads the team vetting names for the post, and Humberto Campodonico, a left-leaning economics professor.
Peru is a leading global minerals exporter. The departing government has lined up $40 billion in investments for the sector over the next decade. Humala has said he wants to introduce a new tax on the windfall profits of mining and oil firms.
Career diplomat Luis Chuquihuara, who has accompanied Humala on his trip to meet with other Latin American leaders over the past week, has emerged as the favorite to become foreign minister. He previously served as chief of staff to former President Toledo. Peru’s next foreign minister will have to manage relations with neighboring Chile over a disputed maritime border in rich fishing waters of the Pacific Ocean. The dispute is being heard by an international court.
Ricardo Giesecke, head of the climate change unit at Peru’s National Environment Council, has been charged with finding the next environment minister.
Giesecke has voiced opposition to the legalization of genetically modified seeds for food crops, criticized hydro-electric dams, and has said small-scale gold miners in the Amazon must stop using dredges that contaminate jungle rivers with mercury.
Peru faces serious water shortages and biologists say it will be among the countries hardest hit by climate change. Its tropical glaciers in the Andes are expected to disappear in coming years.
Peru has had an aggressive trade agenda over the last decade and signed free-trade pacts with China, Japan and the United States, among other countries. Alfonso Velasquez, who served a minister of production under former President Toledo, is in charge of the transition team for this post. Humala’s camp has promised to honor all existing trade pacts, but said it will take a more activist stance and file complaints about terms of trade it considers unfair.
Compiled by Terry Wade and Marco Aquino; Editing by Will Dunham