Citizens march against Congress’ rejection of early general elections bill in Peru

ANDINA/Eddy Ramos. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.


LIMA. Sep 27, 2019, ANDINA. Carrying a large Peruvian flag, citizens in Lima on Thursday evening participated in a demonstration aimed at rejecting Congress’ recent decision to shelve the early general elections bill proposed by President Martin Vizcarra’s administration, reported the ANDINA.

Likewise, they questioned the congressional decision to elect the new Constitutional Court members next Monday. The court is entrusted with upholding the principle of constitutional supremacy, as it has the authority to review the adequacy of laws, draft laws, and decrees issued by the powers of government.

Once again, running under the logo #QueSeVayanTodos (They all must go), demonstrators joined the march convened by civil organizations and associations a couple hours before the event.

The organizers believe the South American country is going through a difficult time marked by political confrontation. As is known, the unpopular Parliament is controlled by a majority led by Keiko Fujimori’s Fuerza Popular party.

As usual, demonstrators also urged the President to dissolve Parliament.

The gathering started at Lima’s San Martin Square 6:00 PM (local time). From there, the crowd traveled the downtown streets, but were not allowed to arrive at Congress facilities.

Parliament rejects the bill

Earlier on Thursday, Congress’ Constitution Commission —presided over by lawmaker Rosa Bartra— approved the preliminary decision to shelve the early general elections bill submitted by the Executive Branch to Parliament last July.

As response, Peruvian Prime Minister Salvador del Solar firmly affirmed that the Executive Branch will not stay with the arms crossed.

In his Annual Address to the Nation, President Martin Vizcarra’s administration had proposed calling for the general elections by 2020, one year sooner than initially expected, so that Peruvians would choose a new President, Vice-Presidents, and Congress members.

Last August, the Head of State affirmed the early general elections would be the only way out of the current political entrapment and urged lawmakers to listen to the people.

President proposes early elections

In his annual Address to the Nation —on the occasion of the country’s 198th Independence Anniversary— Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra proposed calling for early general elections by 2020, instead of 2021.

The initiative came as response to the way Parliament handled the political reform bills presented by the Executive Branch to Parliament and submitted to a confidence motion.

Congress granted a confidence vote to the administration over the projects on June 5. However, the approved bills had been altered during the debates by legislators.

“Taking into account that the confidence requested for the reforms has been approved only in words and denied in facts, I have decided —as consequence— to once again put the interests of Peru above all,” the Head of State said on that day.

In this sense, the top official underlined that he has traveled across the entire country, noting there is no place in Peru where he has not been asked to dissolve Parliament.

“Peruvians should be able to choose their destiny to make the way for Peru’s Bicentennial (2021). With this action, the foundations of our Republic will be reinforced, even if it means we must all go. Congress members, Peru First!” he pointed out.

“For all the above, I propose a way out of this institutional crisis. I present Congress a constitutional reform for the calling of early general elections, which implies cutting the congressional mandate to July 28, 2020,” the highest-ranking official expressed.

“In the same way, in that reform, cutting the presidential mandate to that date is also requested,” he added.

Congress has become very unpopular in Peru.

President Vizcarra’s administration intended to implement reforms to enhance the political-judicial system. Plus, it launched a crusade against corruption.

He took office on March 23, 2018, to replace resigning Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. His term was initially expected to come to an end in 2021.

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