General Recommendations on Strategy and Tactics
The next five years are critical for preventing further backsliding that might undermine Peru's democratic
political system overall. Based on the analysis presented in previous sections, the team concludes that
principal problem for democracy and good governance in Peru in the next five years is 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, 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. Most recently, it has also threatened the
legitimacy of the electoral process itself.
In this context, the overriding objective should be to support those selected actors and institutions that
are most effective at providing checks and balances on the exercise of state power.
There are five
spheres of influence in which checks and balances on centralized power may be established: the judicial
and legislative branches of government, local government, the mass media, and what we call political
society which includes political parties and other forms of civic association. In the rest of this chapter,
the main problems, constraints and opportunities, recommended interventions, and potential results are
highlighted for each of these spheres.
Although the main democracy and governance problems that the Team identified lie in the sphere of
institutional politics and central government power, the strategies recommended for overcoming these
problems lie primarily within the sphere of civil society. This is because to date most governmental
institutions have not been capable of significant reform from within , for a variety of reasons explained
in the previous text. Hence these recommendations stress the responsibility of 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.
As mentioned above, the OAS mission has recently proposed a set of institutional reforms that should be
undertaken in Peru in the short term, involving concrete government actions as well as dialogue and
collaboration with the political opposition and civil society organizations. It is too early to conclude
whether this will provide a new opportunity for serious democratic reform, or whether it will result in a
merely cosmetic government response and a repeat of the false expectations generated in 1995. Before
turning to our issue specific recommendations for the next five years, the Team recommends that
USAID respond to this new framework in the following ways:
Monitor government/congressional response to OAS proposals
USAID should support the efforts of qualified nongovernmental organizations to monitor government
response to the OAS proposals, particularly in the sensitive areas of justice, human rights and press
freedom. In certain cases, initial good faith actions on the part of the government may be expected by
international observers as well as opposition leaders as a prelude to subsequent collaboration.
Many items on the reform checklist provided by the Gaviria Axworthy mission are by definition not
initiatives, and thus must originate in or pass through the Congress. Therefore,
USAID should also support NGO efforts to track the progress of bills aimed at addressing the
deficiencies identified by the OAS in order to identify the obstacles obstructing the path to legislation
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