News Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSN098393920090709
LIMA, July 9 (Reuters) - Peru's departing prime minister said on Thursday he would run for the presidency in 2011, working to forge a coalition that includes the pro-business ruling party and independents.
Prime Minister Yehude Simon, who has announced that he will resign by the end of the week, said he would like the support of President Alan Garcia's APRA party as he takes on emboldened leftist and conservative opposition parties.
Garcia, whose approval rating has fallen to 21 percent amid anger over rising unemployment and poverty and slower economic growth, is barred from running in the next presidential election.
"I hope that the coalition includes the party of this government (APRA), the Humanist Party, and groups from the provinces and independents," said Simon, who is a member of the tiny Humanist Party.
Simon, once jailed for belonging to a leftist insurgency before moderating his views, became prime minister last year. Garcia hoped the appointment would help avert unrest by unions and others unhappy with the government's economic policies.
But Simon has struggled in his post. The opposition recently demanded Garcia reshuffle his Cabinet, blaming Simon for failing to prevent indigenous protests in the Amazon basin from turning violent last month.
In the worst crisis of Garcia's administration, at least 34 people died after police clashed with protesters who were demanding the government throw out laws that encouraged foreign investment in mining and oil development in the rainforest.
Simon is seeking to slow the momentum of Ollanta Humala, a self-described nationalist who is once again a leading contender to succeed Garcia. Humala vowed this week to lead left-wing and indigenous groups to power in the next election.
Humala nearly won the 2006 presidential race, spooking investors with his plans to nationalize key sectors of the economy. He is a friend of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the leader of a new generation of leftists in Latin America.
"Humala is still misguided because he is still a loser," Simon said of his potential opponent.
Garcia, a fervent supporter of free trade and free markets, has told investors he will work to prevent a leftist from winning the presidency.
Analysts have said Peruvian leader might throw his support behind the candidacy of Keiko Fujimori, a popular legislator and the daughter of conservative former President Alberto Fujimori, who is imprisoned for human rights violations.
Garcia has yet to say who he will name to replace Simon.
Leaders of the APRA are throwing their weight behind Education Minister Jose Antonio Chang to be the next prime minister. His father was a prominent party leader, though he is not a member of the ruling party. (Writing by Terry Wade; Editing by Paul Simao)