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Viewing cable 10LIMA97, THE STATE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN PERU

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10LIMA97 2010-01-28 20:08 2011-02-19 12:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Lima
Appears in these articles:
http://elcomercio.pe/
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0097/01 0282049
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 282049Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0621
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000097 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/28 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PE
SUBJECT: THE STATE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN PERU 
 
REF: 09 LIMA 1561; 09 LIMA 1053; 09 LIMA 899 
 
DERIVED FROM: DSCG 05-1 B, D 
 
1.  (C) Summary. ...
id: 246088
date: 1/28/2010 20:49
refid: 10LIMA97
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 09LIMA1053|09LIMA1561|09LIMA899
header:
VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #0097/01 0282049
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 282049Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0621
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
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----------------- header ends ----------------

C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 000097 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/01/28 
TAGS: PGOV PREL PE
SUBJECT: THE STATE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN PERU 

REF: 09 LIMA 1561; 09 LIMA 1053; 09 LIMA 899 

DERIVED FROM: DSCG 05-1 B, D 

1.  (C) Summary.  In Peru's consolidating democracy, established 
political parties will participate in the 2010 regional elections 
and 2011 national elections as weak, largely personality-based 
organizations that represent narrow constituencies.  The ruling 
APRA party is the most fully structured, with a solid 20% base of 
support mostly concentrated along the coast, but its approach to 
2011 is ambiguous given that President Garcia cannot run.  Lourdes 
Flores' PPC is heavily Lima-centric, while the Nationalist Party 
(PNP) has expanding regional structures but remains the electoral 
vehicle of Ollanta Humala.  Other smaller parties are either eroded 
or only partially developed political structures built around 
personalities such as former President Fujimori.   The weakness of 
political parties means that regional movements, outsider 
candidates and potential anti-system elements remain well-placed to 
fill the vacuum and could surge as genuine electoral alternatives. 
End Summary. 



Weak Parties Lack National Presence 



2.  (C) As Peru's still-consolidating democracy gears up for 
another electoral season (local and regional elections are 
scheduled for October of this year, national elections for April of 
2011), general institutional fragility and ineffectiveness are 
acutely reflected in the country's established political parties. 
Weak and often personality-based, parties represent narrow 
constituencies, mostly in urban areas, rather than broad 
cross-sections of society.   Because parties have been unable to 
articulate a national vision, there are virtually no broad-based 
political movements or coalitions with extensive popular support 
nation-wide.  In addition, parties are often reluctant to open 
themselves up to outside participation and renovate their 
leadership with new blood; as a result, they have among the lowest 
levels of citizen confidence among all democratic institutions. 
According to the 2008 Americas Barometer poll, only 20% of 
Peruvians identified with a party - down from 30% in 2006.  This 
means that 80% of electorate is up for grabs in the next election, 
without an identified mechanism to channel their interests, 
proposals, or complaints to the government.  It also leaves the 
great majority of voters potentially open to the appeal of the 
"outsider" candidate - a fresh face unconnected to any established 
party who articulates frustration with the current political system 
and its ineffective or corrupt institutions. 



3.  (C) Part of the disenchantment with parties stems from a larger 
frustration with successive governments perceived as unable or 
unwilling to resolve Peru's persistent structural problems, such as 
inequality, poverty and unemployment, in an (as yet) politically 
decisive way.  In this sense, because parties form governments and 
legislatures, they have limited credibility as actors capable of 
addressing the population's needs.   Paradoxically, despite 
declining popular support, the number of parties in Peru is 
increasing: 26 parties are currently registered in this country of 
28 million, with more on the path to registration.  This 
bewildering array of options makes it even more difficult for the 
average citizen to distinguish among parties and what they offer. 
As one local analyst put it, parties in Peru display symptoms of 
autism: they repeat the same messages over and over, are incapable 
of recognizing the valid participation of others, and are largely 
focused on internal concerns. 



4.  (C) Outside Lima and other major population centers, national 
parties that link together Peru's diverse regions are essentially 
absent, making it difficult to develop consensus and compromise on 
national policies and legislation.  While national party figures 
travel to the regions to build party structures and identify 
candidates for local office, they are usually unfamiliar with the 
key local issues and unable to judge and select appropriate leaders 
with potential national projection.  As a result, in 2006, regional 
movements representing often narrow local platforms and visions 
captured 21 of 25 regional presidencies.  While these regional 
movements vary in effectiveness and popular support, they have no 
single political vision or program binding them to one another or 
to a national political vision, which has generated a highly 
fragmented and fractured political environment at the national 
level.  Several regional leaders, such as Mayor of Trujillo Cesar 
Acuna and President of San Martin Cesar Villanueva, are trying to 
project a national vision from a regional base in the run-up to the 
upcoming elections. 



Structured Parties Few 



5.  (C) The ruling APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) 
party is the most fully structured in the country, with a solid 20% 
of core supporters among the electorate largely concentrated in the 
coastal areas.  Many observers describe the APRA as the only true 
political party in Peru,  alone in having a serious party machinery 
capable of mobilizing its mass membership during electoral and 
non-electoral periods, and known for the strict discipline of its 
members of Congress and rank and file - once a decision at the top 
level has been made.   The APRA's approach to upcoming elections 
remains ill-defined, however, largely because President Alan Garcia 
is constitutionally barred from running in 2011 and widely reported 
to be contemplating a third run in 2016.  To many observers, this 
calculation means that Garcia seeks to maintain control of the 
party in the interim and could choose to do so by throwing his 
support to a non-APRA party presidential candidate in 2011. 
Nevertheless, APRA stalwarts, including former PM Jorge Del 
Castillo, have publicly stated their interest in becoming the 
party's candidate for 2011. 



6.  (C) The Partido Popular Cristiano (PPC), arguably Peru's second 
most structured party, has little presence outside Lima.  Many 
observers believe this - and its image as mostly representing 
Peru's upper classes - explains why PPC president and past 
presidential candidate, Lourdes Flores, has fallen short in several 
successive national elections.  According to media and insider 
reports, Flores is currently contemplating running for Mayor of 
Lima and relinquishing her national political aspirations - for 
now.  By contrast, the PNP is the only national party with a 
significant network in Peru's impoverished rural communities (with 
the possible exception of the fujimoristas), and many analysts say 
that its quiet work in strengthening and expanding existing 
structures has continued over the past three years.  That said, the 
PNP is also seen as the personal electoral vehicle of former 
presidential candidate Ollanta Humala, it is reportedly tightly 
controlled by Humala's wife and advisor Nadine Herrera, and it has 
sought to tighten links with radical groups ( 
 ref A), which has 
caused serious internal tensions and a number of defections in past 
months. 



High Profile Leaders Lack Solid Party Structures 



7.  (C) Other smaller parties are either eroded or not 
fully-developed political structures built around personalities. 
The current polling leaders generally fall under this category: 



-- Likely candidate Luis CastaC1eda has a high approval rating and 
tops most recent polling thanks to his performance as mayor of 
Lima, but his party, National Solidarity (Solidaridad Nacional), 
has little national reach.  He has sought to overcome this with 
targeted social works - such as building "Solidarity Hospitals" - 
in poor areas throughout the country 
-- Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori,  who often places second in the 
polls behind CastaC1eda, derives her popularity almost exclusively 
from her father, former President Alberto Fujimori  (currently 
imprisoned on human rights, corruption and other charges.)  Keiko's 
nascent political movement, Force 2011 (Fuerza 2011), is made up of 
a succession of fujimorista "parties" with little internal 
structure or organization but a solid base of support in middle and 
lower class areas that formed the backbone of former President 
Fujimori's political strength. 



-- Former President and possible 2011 candidate Alejandro Toledo's 
party, Peru Possible (Peru Posible) holds a smattering of elected 
offices outside Lima but revolves mostly around Toledo's (long 
distance, for now) leadership.  Popular Action (AcciC3n Popular), a 
traditional party that had the presidency twice in modern Peruvian 
history, has faded in recent years and lacks a presidential 
candidate with broad name recognition. 



-- Other possible contenders - including Cajamarca environmental 
activist and former priest Marco Arana, retired Commander of the 
Army General Edwin Donayre, former PM and President of Lambayeque 
region Yehude Simon and former PM and Finance Minister Pedro Pablo 
Kuczynski - have some degree of name recognition but little party 
structure to speak of.  The quintessence of the party-less 
presidential aspirant, at this juncture, may be polemic author/talk 
show host Jaime Bayly, whose rumored candidacy has fueled much 
media commentary in recent days, some of it serious. 



Comment: With Weak Parties, Outsiders Fill the Gap 



8.  (C) With Peru poised to enter another electoral cycle in 
2010-2011, the weakened state of political parties means that 
regional movements, outsider candidates and potential anti-system 
elements remain well-placed to fill the vacuum and surge as genuine 
electoral alternatives.   While the absence of established national 
parties with nationwide constituencies need not lead inexorably to 
the selection of an "outsider" or anti-system candidate, it would 
seem to make such a choice more likely.  A politician keenly 
attuned to the spirit of the times, even President Garcia recently 
stated that the next APRA candidate would be an "outsider." 
McKinley 

=======================CABLE ENDS============================