Political crisis in Peru: Vizcarra dissolved the congress

Martín Vizcarra, president of the Latin American country, announced the dissolution of Congress and called for legislative elections, which would cause a U-turn in the parliament

President of Peru, Martín Vizcarra

President of Peru, Martín Vizcarra

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: Crisis política en Perú: Vizcarra disolvió el congreso

One of the biggest challenges, during the less than two years that Vizcarra has been in the presidency, has been passing his laws and proposals by Congress, since he has the opposition as a majority.

“In respect of the unrestricted respect of the Political Constitution of Peru, I have decided to constitutionally dissolve the Congress and call for elections of congressmen of the republic. This is a constitutional act provided for in article 134 of the Constitution”, said the president. “The dissolution of the Congress has the same function of achieving a new parliamentary election, and that finally it will listen the people".

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The decision came days after he, at the hands of his Cabinet, presented to the Congress a vote of confidence and Congress rejected it in what he called a non-transparent election.

The vote of confidence is an action that can be presented by the president or a minister to Congress to be considered on any state policy. In this case, Vizcarra had asked the vote of confidence to make changes in the process of selecting candidates for the Constitutional Court (TC, in Spanish).

The majority, as already said, of Fujimori opposition, refused this action in which the Government denounced not only as not very transparent, but as an affectation to the division of powers in the country.

According to El Comercio, if approved, they would proceed to study the changes. Otherwise, there was the possibility of generating a political crisis, as it happened.

In the vote, the jurist Gonzalo Ortíz de Zevallos, who is the cousin of the president of Congress, Pedro Olaechea, was elected as a member of the Constitutional Court, said BBC, which was not liked by the liberal and leftist members.

After the vote, congressmen said that the access pathways were closed, which prevented them from voting. Moreover, "the leftist legislator María Elena Foronda denounced after she was supplanted and her vote appeared as favorable, so she announced that she will file a complaint with the Prosecutor's Office," according to BBC. For these reasons, it was that the president of Peru announced his decision by referring to a few transparent votes.

Vizcarra said in his speech that the country has been facing a political crisis for years, specifically talking about corruption issues, since Peru has been immersed in scandals related to Odebrecht, which have resulted in the fall of public figures, including former presidents of the Nation. The president claimed the vote of confidence as an opportunity to resolve these conflicts and build trust in the institutions.

Read also: US justice denies bail for Peruvian ex-president Toledo

He also referred to his decision to dissolve Congress as a way to "end this stage of political entrapment that has prevented Peru from growing at the pace of its possibilities".

As expected, the decision was not well received in Congress, where there were protests and complaints. As a result, a group of Congressmen signed a motion of the day calling for "the president's vacancy for the cause of permanent moral incapacity," according to the document. In addition, they intend to demonstrate that the decision was not constitutional, as Vizcarra himself said, since “the election of the judges of the Constitutional Court is an exclusive attribution of the Congress of the Republic”.

Days ago, the Peruvian people had expressed their discontent with Congress, stating that it did not represent them.

Elections for a new Congress must be called within 4 months. When elected, it must vote on the vote of confidence again.

Meanwhile, legislators must leave Congress and, if not, the president could order the police to take them out. According to the BBC, some of them have already stated that they will not go out and will resist the attempt to get them out.

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