IRI, in partnership with Reflexión Democrática, published the Radiografía del Congreso del Perú (PDF) (Biography of Congress) in early January 2009.  The book opens with an in-depth analysis of Congress and its origins and also provides information on congressmen’s platforms, the committees they have served on for the past two years, the bills they have promoted or consider important and the contact information for their offices in Lima and the provinces.  The book has generated interest from media, civil society, local authorities and Congress itself since most Congressmen are still unknown even to their own constituents. 

Several Peruvian newspapers, including El Comercio, El Correo, and Perú 21 published articles on the release of the book.  José Élice, the Executive Director of Reflexión Democrática, was interviewed for several of the newspaper articles; he also participated in interviews on the radio as well as on the television about the release of the biography.  During his interviews, Élice emphasized the importance of an informed citizenry when it comes to their representatives in Congress. 

The publication of Biography of Congress was a part of IRI’s program, Todos Hacemos Política (We All Do Politics), which helps elected officials establish closer ties between their constituents.  The book was released at exactly the halfway mark of the five-year congressional term and contains information provided by 95 congressmen, out of a total 120. 

In an El Correo article, Juan Víctor Seminario, analyst for Reflexión Democrática, claimed “The majority of people do not know what their Congressman does, and many have diverse expectations that do not reflect reality.” 

Convinced that the approval rating of Congress is linked to the fact that the general populace is not familiar with the actual work their member’s accomplishes, Seminario believes that the release of the information compiled in the biography will help to clear up misinformation about the congressional arm of the Peruvian government, and he is hopeful that the availability of such information will improve the approval rating of Congress.

The Biography of Congress was distributed to the general populace, members of civil society and regional and local government authorities.  Two-thousand copies of the book were published for distribution and the book is also available to the public on Reflexión Democrática’s website.

The analysis in the book informs citizens on who represents them in congress and where these political officials stand on pertinent issues.  The book also serves as a way for members of congress to evaluate their own performance and their roles as representatives. 

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