important role in supporting such efforts in the past and has considerable expertise in this area. Activities
to consider might include specific advisory activities as well as training and technical support for judges.
Such activities could involve prestigious public and private sector law faculties with reputations for
political neutrality, as well as institutions such as the
Defensoria del Pueblo
Comision Andina de
. Another promising area would be the training of elected regional justices of the peace, an
activity currently being undertaken by the
Instituto de Defensa Legal
and other NGOs.
Civil and Political Society
Weak parties and national level interest associations do not effectively aggregate and
represent the diverse interests of the citizenry in the political sphere, and do not serve as adequate
counterweights to Executive power
. In Peru today there is a notable lack of effective, intermediary
organizations capable of aggregating interests, building broad policy consensus, holding public
authorities accountable, and proposing viable governance alternatives. In most democracies these tasks
are assumed by political parties, but also by business and labor associations, NGO networks and other
national level nonprofit organizations. Together we call this stratum political society , to distinguish it
within the broader array of particular and grassroots organizations that comprise the civil society sphere.
While traditional political parties are largely discredited, new independent movements have
few incentives to define clear doctrines and programs, or to build broader social bases between elections.
This is in part because of their extremely personalist nature and also due to the ways in which current
electoral rules and representation criteria structure their incentives. Meanwhile, although some civil
society organizations are the leading domestic actors in the effort to strengthen democracy and protect
human rights, the nonprofit sector as a whole is characterized by considerable fragmentation as well as
important resource limitations.
Within the NGO community there are increased efforts to establish broader networks and
national alliances in order to achieve common objectives. The organizations dedicated to human rights
and democracy have made the most progress in this regard (e.g., the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos
Humanos, PROMUJER, and the NGOs working together on electoral monitoring and civic education).
Such aggregating efforts are also evident among business associations, in the university community, and
among research and action organizations in the anti poverty and social policy sphere.
There is also a growing perception among diverse sectors of civil society that there is a need to recreate
parties and strengthen the party system. Despite widespread indignation with the recent electoral
process, and the persistence of President Fujimori's anti party discourse,
the public does not seem to
want to do away with parties
; rather, it wants them to be more effective and inclusive. This is a concern
shared by NGOs, the churches, and a diversity of other civil society organizations, because the weakness
of political parties places greater burdens on each of them than they can assume.
The team believes that it is premature to engage in traditional party strengthening or
leadership development activities, which might simply perpetuate transitory political movements lacking
a firm commitment to democratic norms and values. Nonetheless, the Team recommends that this sphere
of political society be given higher priority, with a possible two track approach; (1) working with civil
society actors that can play this intermediary role, and (2) seeking ways to advance the process of party
Within this framework, we suggest the following activities:
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