The Authoritarian Alternative: ‘Anti‐Politics’ In the Popular Sectors of Lima

Aldo Panfichi

in The New Politics of Inequality in Latin America

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780198781837
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598968 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 The Authoritarian Alternative: ‘Anti‐Politics’ In the Popular Sectors of Lima

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Explores the emergence and success of President Alberto Fujimori as the dominant political figure in Peru during the first half of the 1990s. It is particularly concerned with explaining the support of a broad sector of the urban population of Lima for an authoritarian, personalistic leader. It attributes Fujimori's rise and success to the conjunction of three factors in a specific historical moment: (1) the dramatic worsening of a long‐term economic crisis and consequent generalized sense of insecurity and despair; (2) the discrediting of democratic institutions and the whole range of established political parties across the ideological spectrum combined with the indiscriminate violence of guerilla insurgents; and (3) the emergence of personalistic and authoritarian leaders from social sectors marginal to the political system who offer hope for a better future. Fujimori's background as an unknown Peruvian of Japanese descent and his ability to use his ‘outsider’ status to articulate a symbolic connection with the Peruvian popular classes and a critique of the political establishment were crucial to his political and electoral success.

Keywords: authoritarianism; cholo; ethnicity (discrimination, racism); guerrilla movements; leadership; legitimacy; Nisei; personalism; political parties

Chapter.  9871 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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