The Governmental System of Peru

By Graham H. Stuart; Carnegie Institution of Washington | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII. TERRITORIAL AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT.

The internal organization of Peru resembles very much that of France. The government at Lima, just as the government in Paris, by its control of the prefects and subprefects, has its finger on the pulse of the entire nation. The territorial division into departments and provinces in Peru, like the departmental division in France, is based partly upon administrative expediency and partly upon geographical configurations and natural growth. Each country might serve as an example of a highly centralized system of administration. However, one remarkable difference should be noted. in France, the homogeneity of the people and the geographical continuity of the country seem to be ideally adapted to a highly centralized system, while, on the contrary, in Peru the configuration of the country, the varied interests of the different regions, and the large population of Indians as yet unassimilated into the body politic, make the problem of centralized control a very difficult one.

The law of September 3, 1831, provided that the departments, provinces, and districts then established should retain the existing boundaries. The law of January 17, 1857, on the internal organization of the republic, declared that the territory of the republic was divided into departments and littoral provinces; the departments were divided into provinces and the provinces into districts. However, this law also retained the existing boundaries. The constitutions of 1860 and 1920 kept the same divisions, making the demarcation of the limits subject to law. New departments and provinces were created by laws from time to time, but under the constitution of 1920 all departments and provinces created in the future must be approved by the legislative power in the same fashion as amendments to the constitution.

At the present time Peru is divided into 20 departments, the constitutional province of Callao, and the littoral provinces of Moquegua and Tumbes. The departments are divided into 113 provinces, and the provinces into 930 districts. The administrative division of the 6 most important departments is as follows: Ancash, 8 provinces, 82 districts; Arequipa, 7 provinces, 82 districts; Cajamarca, 8 provinces, 67 districts; Cuzco, 13 provinces, 71 districts; Lima, 7 provinces, 82 districts; and Puno, 8 provinces, 78 districts.1

According to articles 136 and 137 of the constitution of 1920, the

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1
Statistical Abstract of Peru, 1920. p. 7.

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