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5 Interesting Facts About Peru’s Government

The Government Palace was Built in the 1500s

The Government Palace is both the seat of Peru’s executive branch and the official residence of the President. The building has a long history, stretching back all the way to the arrival of Europeans in South America. The building was erected in 1535 by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, who used it as his official office, as did the viceroys who ruled Peru in the name of Spain for hundreds of years after his death. Though the palace has served as the headquarters for every leader of the Republic since Peru’s independence, it still bears the name “House of Pizarro,” a reminder of its long and complicated place in Peruvian history.

The Government Palace

Peru Has Had Multiple Constitutions

Like most modern countries, the foundation of law in Peru is the country’s constitution. What’s interesting about Peru’s constitution is how new it is; the Republic of Peru was founded in 1821, but the country’s current constitution has only been in effect since 1993. During the 20th century alone, Peru had 5 different constitutions. When the current constitution was passed, it made several significant changes, such as changing the country’s legislature from a bicameral (two house) assembly to a unicameral one, and instituting universal suffrage for all Peruvian adults over the age of 17.

Plag Perú

Peru Has a President and a Prime Minister

In addition to having a democratically elected President, who serves as head of government and state, Peru also has a Prime Minister, whose full title is President of the Council of Ministers of Peru. Unlike the President and members of Congress, the Prime Minister isn’t elected; instead, Prime Ministers are appointed by the President and approved by the Congress. Once their appointment has been ratified, Prime Ministers serve as the head of the Council of Ministers, aka the Cabinet. Unless the President is present, the Prime Minister is responsible for presiding over and directing official meetings between government Ministers.

Escudo Nacional del Perú

Elections are Strictly Policed

In the U.S., election days aren’t all that different from any other. In Peru, however, there are a number of prohibitions that go into effect when the country votes. The sale of alcohol is suspended, and carrying a firearm during an election period is illegal, except for members of the police and armed forces. Public gatherings are prohibited during voting hours, including religious ceremonies. In fact, members of the clergy, no matter their religion, are not allowed to participate in election activities while wearing official religious garb.

 There are Dozens of Political Parties

Peru’s Congress is elected via a system of proportional legislation, which means that it is rare for one party to win a controlling number of seats on their own. As a result, Peru’s governments tend to be made up of coalitions of multiple parties, who form alliances necessary to secure majority control of the congress. Nearly 30 distinct political parties participated in the 2006 election, some of which have since ceased to exist or been replaced by newer parties.

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