In Peru there is a basic consensus on the nature of citizenship and the boundaries of the State.  Universal
adult suffrage was achieved in 1980. According to public opinion polls, there is also a widespread
consensus among all sectors of the population that democracy is the 
 system of government and
that elections are the best way to effect changes of government. Between 1980 and 1992, no electoral
outcome was seriously questioned, and the presidential reelection of 1995 was widely considered fair
(although more questions were raised about irregularities in the congressional vote).  Theresults of the
2000 contest, however, have definitely ended public confidence in national electoral institutions, while
generating political polarization and a significant lack of consensus about the legitimacy of the new
Historically, there has also been less consensus on the primacy of democracy under all conditions. Broad
sectors of the population supported the 1992 
auto golpe
 as a means of overcoming executive legislative
deadlock and addressing economic and political crisis.  Today, significant sectors continue to prefer a
third term for President Fujimori, even while recognizing the increasingly authoritarian nature of his
administration and the irregularities committed in the electoral process itself.
The new Constitution in 1993 was approved by public referendum, albeit with a narrow margin, and
today there are no significant groups that formally contest the legitimacy of this document. It establishes
a liberal, representative democracy with a balance of power in government among the three branches,
and between national, local and regional levels; establishes protections for basic human rights and civil
liberties; and defends equal rights for all citizens and guarantees against discrimination. It also includes
new mechanisms of citizen participation and protection, including the referendum, the legislative
initiative by local governments and citizens  groups, and the Ombudsman (
Defensor del Pueblo
At the same time, most citizens are unfamiliar with the specific contents of the Constitution, and those
who are familiar with it do not believe that it regulates daily political or social life. The country's
economic elite has also demonstrated a selective commitment to constitutional rules and principles.
Major business associations applauded the 
auto golpe
, for example, and have supported the president's
potentially unconstitutional third term. Furthermore, although civilian control over the military is
established in the Constitution, the actual degree of subordination of the armed forces to elected officials
is unclear, and the military's support for democracy and the rule of law has been spotty at best.
Furthermore, in practice, the executive, military, and Congressional majorities have demonstrated blatant
disregard for the 1993 Constitution and rule of law in a number of areas, most notably in the autonomy of
the Judiciary.
The Rule of Law
At the present time, the Peruvian state is not committed to enforcing the rule of law, public security
forces are not subject to the rule of law, and the Judiciary branch has neither independence nor integrity.
Rather than upholding the Constitution and serving as a check on the other branches of government, the
Judiciary has been seriously compromised by executive interference. It is the least respected among
public sector institutions.  The primary organism designed to uphold the Constitution, the Constitutional
Tribunal, has been disbanded.
There has never been equal justice for the poor and disadvantaged in Peru. The judicial system has long
been rife with corruption and inefficiency, and there is no effective system of public defense for accused
H:\INCOMING\July24\MSI Submission\Fn Email.doc

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