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Levitsky and Cameron: Political parties and regime change in Fujimori's Peru

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Levitsky and Cameron. 2003. Political parties and regime change in Fujimori's Peru. Latin American Politics and Society 45 (fall).

In Brief

The authors view political parties as critical; thus, they are greatly worried about the decayed party system in Peru. They address three topics:

  1. Peru's party system decomposed (Y) because of structural conditions (X): economic crisis and domestic terrorism. When outside Fujimori won the presidency (1990) and reformed the government (1992) to make himself more powerful, that was simply the death knell for the existing parties. And because he successfully turned the economy around and captured the terrorist leader, he had broad support in doing so. The established parties lost most support.
  2. The implications (Y) of the party system's collapse (X): By replacing parties with independents (who have only short-term electoral interests), O'Donnell's "horizontal accountability" is gone. Also, candidate-centered movements have much less capacity to mobilize against the regime.
  3. The prospects for rebuilding the parties (Y) now that Fujimori is gone are weak. First, new mass media technologies mean that politicians don't need parties as badly as they once did. Second, the growth of the urban informal sector has diminished the salience of old urban, labor, and industry cleavages.