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The Editors

Peru Should Give Its Latest President a Chance

Endless political dysfunction is deepening the country’s misery.

Hello, I must be going.

Hello, I must be going.

Photographer: Luka Gonzales/AFP/Getty Images

With the Nov. 17 swearing-in of Francisco Sagasti as interim president, Peru has its third head of state in a little more than a week. Sagasti’s charge will be to run the country through new presidential elections next April. The Peruvian people can only hope the country’s legislators allow him to stay in office that long.

Sagasti’s appointment came just days after that of his predecessor, Manuel Merino, who had in turn assumed the presidency following the ouster of Martín Vizcarra on Nov. 9. This presidential roulette might appear to be the stuff of farce, if the consequences weren’t so tragic. Once considered among Latin America’s most promising economies, Peru has been crushed by the coronavirus pandemic. Its output is projected to contract by 14% this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. At least 35,600 people have died from the virus, leaving Peru with the third-highest per-capita death toll in the world.