This meeting was convened just two and a half months into the term of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala. While this is not a lot of time in which to assess governmental performance, some clear signs of the administration’s direction have begun to surface.  The first, macroeconomic policy continuity, as reflected in the naming of respected economists to the positions of head of the Central Bank and Finance Minister.  Second, a commitment to addressing Peru’s high levels of poverty through the creation of a new social ministry and the restructuring of taxes and royalties on companies in the mining and extractive sectors, to pay for these new social programs. 

Nevertheless,  Peru faces deep and chronic governance challenges.  Public opinion polls by Latinobarometro and the Americas Barometer consistently rank Peru as among the lowest in the hemisphere in terms of support for democracy and satisfaction with democratic performance.

The event was convened to examine policy initiatives emanating from the new administration in the light of long-standing issues and challenges.  What are the possibilities for achieving greater social inclusion?  How can the interests of local communities and foreign investors be better balanced?  Will the new government succeed in strengthening democratic institutions, reviving people’s faith in their efficacy?  We were fortunate to be joined by a distinguished panel of experts and contributors to the newly-published book, Fractured Politics:  Peruvian Democracy Past and Present, edited by John Crabtree.