Peru’s Unpopular Politicians Are Taking the State Down With Them

Peru’s Unpopular Politicians Are Taking the State Down With Them
An anti-government protester holds a sign in Spanish reading “Dina assassin,” in reference to President Dina Boluarte, during a demonstration in Lima, Peru, May 1, 2024 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

Nearly all of the credible polls in Peru put President Dina Boluarte’s approval ratings at less than 10 percent, among the lowest in the world for any world leader, whether democratic or authoritarian. The Peruvian Congress’ public standing is even worse, with fewer than 5 percent of Peruvians supporting the institution and its members. In fact, so bad is their reputation, it is difficult to find any Peruvian citizen willing to admit he or she supports the president or Congress, making even those low numbers seem inflated.

The low approval ratings aren’t new for Peru. Many of the country’s recent presidents and congresses have similarly suffered from popular disavowal. The Peruvian public feels that democracy is not delivering and that politicians are corrupt and only interested in their own personal gain. This lack of public backing is one reason why prior to Boluarte, Peru had six different presidents in six years.

A key difference now compared to previous presidents is that under Boluarte and the current Congress, Peru’s political system has not let that lack of a mandate hold them back. Out of desperation and knowing they are only surviving in office on borrowed time, Peru’s politicians are behaving as if they have a mandate for urgent action.

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