Peru History: Fujimori Regime and New Constitution

By | September 9, 2021

After a runoff election on June 10, 1990, A. Fujimori (electoral alliance Cambio 90) prevailed. He concentrated all state power on overcoming the economic crisis (extensive privatization program) and the fight against guerrilla terror, dissolved the parliament, which was dominated by the opposition, on April 5, 1992, and suspended the constitution. With the arrest of the leader of the SL, Abimael Guzmán (* 1934), a spectacular success against the guerrillas was achieved in September 1992. An attempted coup on November 13th against President Fujimori failed. On November 22nd, 1992 he had the constituent assembly elected on the basis of a new electoral law, in which his supporters received a majority (some established parties such as APRA and AP boycotted the elections). The new constitution (in force since December 29, 1993) established a presidential system that was tailored to the person of Fujimori. Against the background of economic success, the president was re-elected on April 9, 1995 with a large majority.

The decades-old border conflict with Ecuador broke out again in January 1995, after international mediation a demilitarized zone was first set up, and in October 1998 the border was contractually regulated. The territorial conflict with Chile was also resolved in 1999. The economic upturn slowed considerably in 1996. The power of fujimori was strengthened once more when he had the four-month occupation of the Japanese embassy in Lima ended by a command of the MRTA (since December 17, 1996) by storming the embassy on April 22, 1997, whereby the 72 remaining hostages could be freed. Nevertheless, criticism of the president’s authoritarian and populist style of government increased in the course of 1997. The preparations since 1999 for the election for a third term not provided for in the constitution and the election itself were accompanied by massive protests. When Fujimori was declared the winner after the 2nd ballot (May 28, 2000) – the representative of the opposition, A. Toledo, had withdrawn his candidacy in protest against the disabilities – the public unrest escalated into a mass movement, criticism also came from abroad. Visit for Peru as a tourism country.

Under international pressure (especially the OAS), talks between the government and the opposition began in August 2000 to find a way out of the crisis. The loss of the parliamentary majority and the exposure of a corruption scandal involving the head of the secret service Vladimiro Montesinos in September 2000 finally prompted Fujimori to announce his resignation. With renewed mediation by the OAS, new elections were scheduled for April 2001. Though Fujimori initially wanted to remain in office for as long as he wanted, he did not return to Peru from a visit to Japan in November 2000, submitted his resignation by fax and was finally ousted by parliament for “moral unsuitability”. In February 2001, Fujimori was charged by parliament for violating official duties, and charges were made later for violations of human rights and corruption.

Speaker of Parliament Valentin Paniagua (* 1936, † 2006), representative of the opposition party AP, was elected interim president. With J. Pérez de Cuellár he appointed an internationally respected politician as prime minister in order to return the country to democracy. In April 2001 there were new presidential and parliamentary elections, in which no party and none of the candidates achieved an absolute majority; the runoff election between A. Toledo and the former president A. García Pérez in June 2001 was won by Toledo. This is the first time since the Spanish conquest that a politician of indigenous origin has reached the highest office in the country.

Toledo’s term of office was marked by a sharp contrast between economic growth on the one hand and stagnation in social development on the other. The structural development problems in the socio-economic area (especially poverty, underemployment and corruption) were not alleviated, which destabilized the political situation. Mass protests paralyzed public life several times and led to deep political crises.

In terms of foreign policy, the policy of the Toledo government was geared towards achieving greater integration of Peru into world markets through international economic integration. a. within the Andean Community. In 2003 Peru became an associate member and free trade partner of Mercosur. The presidents of the 25 regional governments were directly elected for the first time on November 17, 2002. Progress was made in the decentralization process and in dealing with human rights violations during the civil war. On August 28, 2003, the “Commission for Truth and Reconciliation”, which had been convened the previous year, presented its final report: In it, the estimated number of fatalities from the conflict between the SL, MRTA, death squads, rural self-defense patrols and state security forces doubled from 35,000 elevated.

Peru History - Fujimori Regime and New Constitution