During a three week period in February March 2000, a five member team of specialists was tasked to
carry out a comprehensive assessment of the state of democracy and governance in Peru, applying a
framework and methodology developed by USAID and tested by similar teams in other contexts.  The
Peru Team convened in Lima and spent the better part of three weeks conducting interviews with a
diverse group of experts, including academics and activists, politicians, government officials,
businessmen, university students and journalists; as well as reviewing documentation and collecting data
on a host of issues affecting Peruvian democracy.  Two Team members visited two other regions selected
for their unique social and political characteristics, Piura and Tarapoto, to investigate local governance
and other issues at closer range and to provide regional perspective on national political trends.  The
main findings and an initial set of recommendations were presented to the USAID Mission in Peru on
March 29, in advance of the general elections of 2000.
Given the extremely controversial nature and outcome of those elections, the polarized post electoral
environment, and the subsequent involvement of a high level mission of the Organization of American
States in proposing a set of democratic reforms to the government and other actors, team members
reviewed the initial recommendations in early July and made modest revisions.  This report is the
culmination of both efforts.
The Team found that the challenges to improving democracy and governance in Peru encompassed 
 of the issue areas identified in the assessment framework: consensus on the rules of the game, respect
for basic human rights and civil liberties, free competition of ideas as well as actors, meaningful
inclusion of all citizens in the political process, and good governance, meaning not only efficient public
institutions but also transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law.
However, the Team identified the main problems for democracy in the next five years as being primarily
in the realm of 
competition and balance of power, 
broadly understood.  Without competition for power
based on popular sovereignty, there is no real democracy, even if there is rule of law and efficient
government.  Obviously, a fully competitive democracy involves a free and fair electoral process and a
working party system, both of which are in serious trouble in Peru today.  But elections are not the only
form of competition in a liberal democracy, and public office is not the only prize.  Democracy is also
about the free competition of ideas and public policies, which requires a broadly permissive political
arena (allowing for a range of debate and disagreement between government and citizens and a structural
balance between various centers of power), a strong and plural civil society, and a free and independent
media.  Furthermore, democracy requires institutionalized competition 
within the government itself
through a balance of power between its branches and levels that serves as a check on potential abuses of
In this case, 
the Team concludes that democracy and good governance in Peru are seriously hindered
in the short run by the lack of effective checks and balances on the exercise of Executive power
.  This
includes both a lack of real balance of power within the government (among the various branches and
levels), and limited mechanisms of government accountability to society.  This lack of effective limits on
Executive power, in turn, has led to political intervention in and manipulation of the Judiciary, disregard
for the rule of law, violation of basic citizen rights and liberties, and limited government transparency or
accountability.  Furthermore, the desire of the current administration to perpetuate itself in power has
also weakened its original promise of efficient governance, while placing increased restrictions on the
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