Peru: The Danger of Powerless Democracy

Issue Date April 2023
Volume 34
Issue 2
Page Numbers 77–89
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Peru’s democracy is dying. The country made international headlines after a cycle of political instability that left behind seven presidents in seven years, a failed coup, and 60 people dead after violent protests and brutal repression by the government. However, unlike the usual stories about democracy falling prey to the military or a popular strongman dismantling it from within, Peru’s democracy is dying not from power concentration but from power dilution. Electoral fragmentation, political amateurism, and weak linkages with society have left politics populated by politicians willing to break democratic norms to make short-term gains. We call that process “democratic hollowing.”

About the Authors

Rodrigo Barrenechea

Rodrigo Barrenechea is assistant professor of social sciences at the Universidad Católica del Uruguay and a 2022–23 Santo Domingo Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.

View all work by Rodrigo Barrenechea

Alberto Vergara

Alberto Vergara is professor of political and social sciences at the Universidad del Pacífico in Lima.

View all work by Alberto Vergara