This is the first in a two-part series on Peruvian politics. Part I examines the evolution of Peruvian politics since the Fujimori era and the challenging conditions for governance. Part II will examine President Ollanta Humala’s government and discusses policy solutions to Peru’s political volatility and social upheaval.
Another Peruvian president faces evaporating public support, a fractious opposition and civil unrest in the interior. This time it’s President Ollanta Humala, a former military officer who in his second run for office in 2011 presented himself as a moderate, pro-business social democrat—a contrast to his first run in 2006, in which he was all populist fire and brimstone.
Sadly, though, despite his 2011 makeover as a moderate—though still an outsider—the same fate has befallen Humala as has met Peruvian presidents since the election of Alberto Fujimori in 1989. In the post-Fujimori political dystopia, the fickle nature of party alliances and popular support has weakened the executive’s capacity to initiate and implement consensus over major policies. Add to that the disparity between Peru’s torrid rates of economic growth and the country’s levels of social and economic exclusion, and you have a prescription for political volatility and polarization. The question is whether this time it will lead to broader political and social upheaval.