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Montevideo, August 10th 2022 - 11:41 UTC

 

 

Peruvian president offers to cut short his term and call for fresh elections to overcome the “institutional crisis”

Monday, July 29th 2019 - 09:55 UTC
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Vizcarra's proposal comes with Peru's executive and legislative branches locked in a massive power struggle Vizcarra's proposal comes with Peru's executive and legislative branches locked in a massive power struggle

Peru's President Martin Vizcarra on Sunday offered to cut short his term and hold elections to end what he called an institutional crisis. He said in a speech to Congress this would also involve shortening the term of the legislature. As it stands, general elections are scheduled for July of next year.

Vizcarra's proposal comes with Peru's executive and legislative branches locked in a massive power struggle.

The president said his idea would need to be passed by the opposition-controlled legislature, and then approved in a referendum.

“The voice of the people must be heard,” Vizcarra told lawmakers, as some cheered him and others yelled insults, in a session on Peru's national day.

“Peru is screaming out for a new beginning,” Vizcarra said.

Shaken by a string of high-profile corruption scandals, Peruvians overwhelmingly approved Vizcarra's anti-corruption reforms in a December referendum.

But he has repeatedly clashed with Congress, which is dominated by the Popular Force party of Keiko Fujimori, who is herself in prison pending trial on corruption charges linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Vizcarra had originally threatened to dissolve Congress and force new legislative elections in June, unless lawmakers backed his anti-graft proposals.

He won a vote of confidence in Congress at the time, and the government was expected to begin negotiations with the opposition over introducing the reforms.

The reforms ranged from campaign finance, to limiting immunity from prosecution that lawmakers enjoy, and blocking those convicted in court from seeking office, as the South American nation of 33 million sought to emerge from the shadow of Latin America's biggest graft scandal.

The proposal to lift legislative immunity turned into the source of the latest conflict between Peru's executive and legislative branches; Vizcarra proposed giving the Supreme Court power to decide whether to strip a legislator of the protection.

Congress, which currently holds the power to lift judicial immunity, rejected the idea.

Vizcarra's proposal to move up elections was met with praise from businesses and analysts, as well as leftist members of Congress, but his opponents accused him of creating too much uncertainty in the government.

“The president is looking to shake up Congress, because there has been no improvement in investment or development in the country,” said Fujimori-allied congresswoman Cecilia Chacon.

“The president has nothing to show the people, so he has created a media show to keep getting air time,” she argued.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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