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2000 - Valentin Paniagua

In September 2000, President Fujimori’s hold on power began to crumble, with the release of videotapes depicting the widespread corruption affecting the Fujimori administration. Further events last fall led to the November congressional ousting of Fujimori, the installation of an interim government headed by President Valentin Paniagua, and preparations for a new round of elections.

Valentin Paniagua succeeded to the presidency on November 22, 2000. Also, the Peruvian congress, responding to the popular demand for democratic elections, passed a constitutional reform and a related electoral law in November 2000 scheduling new presidential and congressional elections for April 8, 2001.

The “second transition scenario” during the Paniagua government (November 2000 – July 2001) was bolstered by massive popular support but it had to face a two-fold challenge in order to establish the necessary conditions for the April 2001 elections and for paving the way for the new government: the dismantling of the Fujimori legacy and the re-institutionalization of democracy. The immediate response included the dismissal, investigation, and prosecution of many highly placed political authorities and officials, including high grade military officers. Legitimate institutions in sensitive areas also had to be reconstituted including the electoral office, the Constitutional Tribunal, the police and armed forces, the Ministry of the Presidency, and the judicial system. In some of these areas, civil society participation was crucial in order to guarantee transparency through citizen oversight and to promote longer-term sustainability of the initiatives.

The Paniagua administration committed itself to ensuring the neutrality of the government and the armed forces during the upcoming elections, including prohibiting the use of government resources for political purposes. Also, the government named new leaders to two electoral agencies--those responsible for overseeing and implementing the elections--and these leaders emphasized their full commitment to conducting free and fair elections.

The Paniagua administration committed to ensuring the neutrality of the government and the armed forces during the elections. For example, the Paniagua administration forbade the use of public office or government resources for political purposes. Also, President Paniagua removed many high-ranking military officers and government officials from their positions due to their allegiance to the Fujimori regime and in order to ensure his control over the government.

In 2006 Paniagua had many faults as a candidate: he was "too serious," refuses to let his name be used as a slogan "Con Valentin Habra Pan y Agua," and stubbornly refused to speak Quechua. Paniagua comes from Cuzco, Andrade explained, his father was Bolivian and the family had a farm on which Paniagua learned Quechua fluently. Unfortunately, Paniagua haled from a generation that was shamed out of using that language. The few times that Paniagua has spoken in Quechua, the effect was "magical," especially on indigenous women. If Paniagua would only use it, Quechua could be "the Exocet missile" for the campaign. It wasn't.

Valentin Paniagua Corazao died on 16 October 2006. President Paniagua was instrumental in forging a consensus in a fractious political environment, managing a sensitive transition, and ensuring the return of Peru to full democracy in 2000. The fruits of President Paniagua’s able statecraft are visible in Peru’s continued democratic consolidation and economic growth.



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Page last modified: 07-03-2016 20:24:57 ZULU