Presidential Elections
The President is elected to a five year term by direct vote and s/he must attain an absolute majority (50%
plus 1 of all valid votes) in order to win in the first round. Otherwise, there is a second round run off
between the first two leading candidates. This system seeks to assure that the President will enjoy strong
legitimacy through securing majority approval. The 1993 Constitution allows for the president to be re 
elected to one consecutive term, a departure from the 1979 Constitution that limited the presidency to a
single term.
There was considerable controversy surrounding President Fujimori's eligibility in elections for a third
term.  When the 1993 Constitution was passed, permitting the president to be reelected to a second term,
the question arose as to whether he would be eligible to be  re reelected  in 2000. President Fujimori and
his supporters argued that he should be eligible because his first term in office was under the 1979
Constitution. His opponents challenged this position and the constitutionality of his candidacy in 2000.
In 1996, the Fujimori controlled Congress passed a Law of Authentic Interpretation stating that President
Fujimori could stand for re election in 2000.  This law was widely criticized since the Constitution does
not give Congress powers to interpret the Constitution. Therefore, the Law of Authentic Interpretation
went to the Constitutional Tribunal in 1997.  Three of its seven members declared the law inapplicable to
President Fujimori's re election and four abstained. The three ruling judges were impeached. Since that
time their seats have not been filled, making the entity inoperative.  Furthermore, the number of
magistrates needed to rule legislation as unconstitutional was increased from 5 of 7 to 6 of 7, raising the
bar higher than for almost any similar body around the world.
Next, civil society organizations moved to challenge the Law of Authentic Interpretation and campaigned
for a referendum on the subject. While civil society organizations worked to collect the requisite number
of signatures, Congress passed a law modifying the referendum process to require that two fifths of
Congress vote in favor of holding the referendum. In August 1998, Congress defeated the referendum. In
December 1999, President Fujimori presented his candidacy to the National Elections Board (JNE). The
JNE was the final arbiter on whether or not President Fujimori could participate in the 2000 elections and
ultimately rejected 18 different objections to his eligibility that were submitted by opposition figures,
political parties and other civic groups.
Congressional Elections
Until 1992 the Peruvian legislature consisted of two chambers, a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies, with
a total of 240 members. Under the new 1993 Constitution, the Congress is unicameral, with 120 members
who are elected for five year terms representing a single electoral district (
districto unico
). Because
Presidential and Congressional elections are concurrent, the  coat tail effect  is stronger, increasing the
likelihood that the President will have a majority control in Congress. Moreover, there is a single ballot
for both President and Congress, making a split vote less likely even though voters have the right to do
In both 1980 and 1985, presidents were elected in the first round and had Congressional majorities that
enabled them to govern with and little opposition. However, because Congress is elected definitively in
the first round, this system leaves opens the possibility that a presidential candidate, who wins in the
second round, may not have a Congressional majority, as was the case in 1990. Although Fujimori won
63% of the popular vote in a second round run off, his movement won just 18% of the Chamber of
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