CHAPTER III:  DEFINING THE DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE PROBLEM
An effective democracy requires basic consensus on the  rules of the game  among all competitors,
respect for human rights and civil liberties, free competition of ideas as well as actors, and opportunities
for meaningful inclusion of all citizens in the political process. The perpetuation of a democracy also
requires good governance, meaning not only efficient public institutions but also transparency,
accountability, and respect for the rule of law.
It is important to stress from the outset that in Peru today there are difficulties on each of these five
dimensions (consensus, rule of law, competition, inclusion, and good governance), and these are
elaborated below.  However, the assessment Team identified the main problem 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 power.
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.  Political scientists have called
the current political regime in Peru a  delegative democracy  (the electorate  delegates  to the President
the right to govern as he sees fit without oversight from other branches of government),  neopopulist 
(the President rules in a traditional populist political style, disregarding representative institutions), or
outright authoritarian. The central features of this regime are the lack of effective limits on Executive
power and the weakness of democratic institutions, which in turn have led to persistent political
intervention in and manipulation of the Judiciary, disregard for the rule of law, and violations of basic
civil rights and liberties.  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 other
political competitors and undermining the legitimacy of the electoral process itself.
Although the team identified the main problem as residing in the sphere of institutional politics and
beginning with the exercise (and abuse) of state power, the strategies recommended for overcoming this
problem are primarily within the sphere of civil society. For a variety of reasons, government institutions
in Peru to date have not been capable of significant  reform from within.  Hence, we believe it is up to
key actors in civil society, as well as within the international community, to provide checks on state
power and hold government accountable for its actions.  In this sense, our assessment upholds the current
Mission emphasis on 
demand driven
 democracy, even while it suggests certain modifications in that
approach.
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