Peru's Congress refused once again Wednesday to bring forward the elections to 2023 as requested by President Dina Boluarte who was acquiescing to the demands of the numerous demonstrators that flocked the streets and roads since the Dec. 7 impeachment of Pedro Castillo Terrones.
Boluarte had announced Sunday that if Parliament did not approve the advancement of general elections she would immediately send two bills for the elections to be held anyway this year and for the total reform of the 1993 Constitution by the next Legislature.
Protests have so far resulted in around 65 deaths in episodes linked directly or indirectly to the many demonstrations staged nationwide.
With 54 votes in favor, 68 against, and 2 abstentions, the hemicycle fell far short of the 87 votes it needed to approve the legislative initiative proposing to hold complementary elections in December of this year, which involved electing a Chief Executive but also the Lawmakers to complete the 2021-26 term.
The new bill, which featured a series of amendments from the one already rejected on Friday, proposed that the authorities elected in the next elections would exercise their functions until the end of July 2026, when Castillo's term was to have ended.
In the plenary vote, the proposal obtained the majority support of the pro-Fujimori group Fuerza Popular and the conservative Podemos and Alianza Para el Progreso, while the greatest rejection came from the ultra-conservative Renovación Popular party and the majority of left-wing groups, among them Juntos por el Perú and Perú Libre, the self-styled Marxist party that in 2021 brought Castillo to power.
Juntos por el Perú's Ruth Luque questioned that the elections are complementary and that the bill does not include the call for a constituent assembly, as also demanded by the demonstrators, who also seek Boluarte's resignation.
Perú Libre's Flavio Cruz argued that supporting this text would mean supporting the continuity of the president and disregarding the deaths during the anti-government protests.
Had the bill been passed, the new authorities would take office in May 2024. On Monday it had been decided to halt all debating and move on to voting, which was scheduled for Wednesday.
Demonstrators are also demanding Castillo's release from prison and justice for those who have died in the protests under Police and Army repression.
Castillo had to dissolve Congress and rule by decree on the grounds that lawmakers were seeking to install a congressional dictatorship.
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