The president of Peru is popularly elected for a 5-year term, and the 1993 constitution permits one consecutive re-election. The first and second vice presidents also are popularly elected but have no constitutional functions unless the president is unable to discharge his duties. The principal executive body is the Council of Ministers, headed by a prime minister, all appointed by the president. All presidential decree laws or draft bills sent to Congress must be approved by the Council of Ministers.
The legislative branch consists of a unicameral Congress of 120 members. In addition to passing laws, Congress ratifies treaties, authorizes government loans, and approves the government budget. The president has the power to block legislation with which the executive branch does not agree.
The judicial branch of government is headed by a 16-member Supreme Court seated in Lima. The Constitutional Tribunal interprets the constitution on matters of individual rights. Superior courts in departmental capitals review appeals from decisions by lower courts. Courts of first instance are located in provincial capitals and are divided into civil, penal, and special chambers. The judiciary has created several temporary specialized courts, in an attempt to reduce the large backlog of cases pending final court action. In 1996 a human rights ombudsman's office was created to address human rights issues.
Peru is divided into 24 departments and the constitutional province of Callao, the country's chief port, adjacent to Lima. The departments are subdivided into provinces, which are composed of districts. Authorities below the departmental level are elected.
The Government of Peru is in a state of democratization. Led by President Alejandro Toledo, the executive branch is becoming more transparent and accountable. Previously a rubberstamp body, the Congress is emerging as a strong counterbalance to the once dominant executive branch, with increased oversight and investigative powers. The executive branch and Congress are attempting to reform the judicial branch, antiquated and rife with corruption. Peruvians, whose expectations were raised during the campaign, are frustrated at the slow pace of economic recovery and job creation. As discontent rises, the Toledo administration is in a race to strengthen the economy so that popular pressures do not force a shift to more populist measures.
So far, the Toledo government remains committed to orthodox economic policies and structural reform, which, over time, should attract sufficient international investment to generate high growth and job creation. Establishment of an impartial, efficient judiciary probably will be the most difficult goal to achieve. Other important political currents stem from the ongoing investigation of Fujimori era corruption and an increase in activities by terrorist group Sendero Luminoso. Regarding the latter, the Toledo government has been forced to consider putting resources back into the security forces which they had been hoping to use to fund social programs.
conventional long form: Republic of Peru
conventional short form: Peru
local long form: Republica del Peru
local short form: Peru
Data code: PE
Government type: constitutional republic
24 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 constitutional province* (provincia constitucional); Amazonas, Ancash, Apurimac, Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cajamarca, Callao*, Cusco, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Ica, Junin, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Lima, Loreto, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Pasco, Piura, Puno, San Martin, Tacna, Tumbes, Ucayali
note: the 1979 constitution mandated the creation of regions (regiones, singular - region) to function eventually as autonomous economic and administrative entities; so far, 12 regions have been constituted from 23 of the 24 departments - Amazonas (from Loreto), Andres Avelino Caceres (from Huanuco, Pasco, Junin), Arequipa (from Arequipa), Chavin (from Ancash), Grau (from Tumbes, Piura), Inca (from Cusco, Madre de Dios, Apurimac), La Libertad (from La Libertad), Los Libertadores-Huari (from Ica, Ayacucho, Huancavelica), Mariategui (from Moquegua, Tacna, Puno), Nor Oriental del Maranon (from Lambayeque, Cajamarca, Amazonas), San Martin (from San Martin), Ucayali (from Ucayali); formation of another region has been delayed by the reluctance of the constitutional province of Callao to merge with the department of Lima; because of inadequate funding from the central government and organizational and political difficulties, the regions have yet to assume major responsibilities; the 1993 constitution retains the regions but limits their authority; the 1993 constitution also reaffirms the roles of departmental and municipal governments
National holiday: Independence Day, July 28 (1821)
Constitution: 31 December 1993
Legal system: based on civil law system; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Alejandro TOLEDO (since 28 July 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; additionally there are two vice presidents
head of government: President Alejandro TOLEDO (since 28 July 2001); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government; additionally there are two vice presidents
note: Prime Minister Beatriz MERINO (since 19 July 2003) does not exercise executive power; this power is in the hands of the president
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 9 April 1995 (next to be held 9 April 2000)
election results: President FUJIMORI reelected; percent of vote - Alberto FUJIMORI 64.42%, Javier PEREZ de CUELLAR 21.80%, Mercedes CABANILLAS 4.11%, other 9.67%
unicameral Democratic Constituent Congress or Congresso Constituyente Democratico (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 9 April 1995 (next to be held 9 April 2000)
election results: percent of vote by party - C90/NM 52.1%, UPP 14%, other parties 33.9%; seats by party - C90/NM 67, UPP 17, APRA 8, FIM 6, CODE-Pais Posible 5, AP 4, PPC 3, Renovation Party 3, IU 2, OBRAS 2, other parties 3
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia, judges are appointed by the National Council of the Judiciary
Political parties and leaders: American Popular Revolutionary Alliance or APRA [Luis ALVA Castro]; Change 90-New Majority or C90/NM [Alberto FUJIMORI]; Civic Works Movement or OBRAS [Ricardo BELMONT]; Democratic Coordinator or CODE-Pais Posible [Jose BARBA Caballero and Alejandro TOLEDO]; Independent Agrarian Movement or MIA [leader NA]; Independent Moralizing Front or FIM [Fernando OLIVERA Vega]; Peru 2000 [Alberto FUJIMORI]; coalition of C90/NM and Vamos Vecino; Popular Action Party or AP [Juan DIAZ Leon]; Popular Christian Party or PPC [Luis BEDOYA Reyes]; Renovation Party [Rafael REY Rey]; Union for Peru or UPP [Javier PEREZ de CUELLAR]; United Left or IU [leader NA]; Vamos Vecino or VV [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders: leftist guerrilla groups include Shining Path [Abimael GUZMAN Reynoso (imprisoned), Gabriel MACARIO (top leader at-large)]; Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement or MRTA [Victor POLAY (imprisoned), Hugo AVALLENEDA Valdez (top leader at-large)]
International organization participation: APEC, CAN, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Alfonso RIVERO Monsalve
chancery: 1700 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone:  (202) 833-9860 through 9869
FAX:  (202) 659-8124
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paterson (New Jersey), San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John R. Dawson
embassy: Avenida Encalada, Cuadra 17, Monterrico, Lima
mailing address: P. O. Box 1995, Lima 1; American Embassy (Lima), APO AA 34031-5000
telephone:  (1) 434-3000
FAX:  (1) 434-3037
Flag description: three equal, vertical bands of red (hoist side), white, and red with the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a shield bearing a llama, cinchona tree (the source of quinine), and a yellow cornucopia spilling out gold coins, all framed by a green wreath