The Political Economy of the Andean Region
Edited by Andrés Solimano
7. Governability and economic performance in 1990s Peru Miguel Jaramillo and Jaime Saavedra* ‘En el Perú lo único permanente es lo provisional’ ‘In Peru, only the provisional is permanent.’ Héctor Verlade, architect and writer in Lima 7.1 INTRODUCTION The decade of the 1990s brought a series of changes to Peru that, it is often argued, altered the direction of the country. Viewed from a broader historical perspective, however, the period is perhaps similar to other eras in Peru’s political past. A charismatic leader without a formal organizational structure comes to power with ideas of reform and institutes an authoritarian government that ends in rampant corruption, economic crisis, and in political upheaval. President Leguía’s (1919–30) project, ‘la Patria Nueva’, is perhaps the most recent example in Peruvian history, but there are others. At least two important characteristics, however, set the 1990s apart from previous decades. In the ﬁrst place, they were part of a period of democratic rule that had started in 1980 and was characterized by historically unprecedented levels of political participation, at least in terms of people’s access to government and exercise of their right to vote. As is shown in Table 7.1, in the last half-century, Peru has changed from being a country where only a small per cent of the population was registered to vote into one where the majority of the population can effectively choose its own authorities. Secondly, this democratic period occurs within an international context in rapid transit towards greater economic...
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