19 April, 2021

Indigenous under-representation will prevail in the next Congress

The indigenous association CHIRAPAQ pointed out that electoral candidates are not required to declare their ethnicity before the National Jury of Elections.

The indigenous activist Tarcila Rivera Zea noted that whatever the outcome of the national elections on Sunday, April 11, regardless of who wins, indigenous peoples will remain absent “in the state body that develops and establishes the laws governing our lives and the fate of our peoples and cultures.”

According to the 2017 National Census, 26% of the national population self-identified as members of one of the 55 indigenous peoples in Peru. This equates to 5,985,551 indigenous people, of which 51.5% are women. Contrary to popular belief, the majority resides in cities, with Lima being the province with the highest density of indigenous population throughout

“Electoral laws today only oblige political parties to include us in the lists for municipal and regional elections but considering the results of the census we demand to rethink the quotas or presentation formulas of our peoples,” Rivera explained. For the president of the CHIRAPAQ indigenous association, it is imperative that the ethnic self-identification of congressional candidates for the presidency, vice presidency, Congress, and the Andean parliament be included in their notarized resume.

In 2019, the Final Report of the High-Level Commission for Political Reform, or Tuesta Commission, recommended that every 150,000 voters should be represented by at least one congressperson. Taking the latest census into account, how many legislators should represent the 26% of the national population that self-identify as indigenous? “The progressive inclusion
of ethnicity in the electoral rolls, and a shift to quota formulas that ensure the representation of our peoples in Congress is still a pending task of the State,” she said.