- BBC News World
The Congress of Peru once again refused to advance the elections to 2023. The last proposal, presented by the congressman of Fuerza Popular (Fujimorismo) Hernando Guerra, did not obtain the necessary votes.
As it had announced days before, faced with a new refusal from Congress, the government of President Dina Boluarte presented a bill so that the elections can be held this year.
“A few moments ago we have entered into the table of parts of Congress a bill that by constitutional mandate has the nature of urgency and priority, a legislative initiative in which we are proposing the advancement of general elections for the year 2023,” declared its first Minister, Alberto Otárola.
“We hope that Congress will promptly, if possible in the next few days, put this bill on the agenda and once again discuss and reflect on the need for peace and tranquility that the country requires,” said Otárola.
Boluarte has repeatedly asked Congress, which has the power to advance the elections, to reach an agreement that allows the country to “pacify” and provide a way out of the political crisis in which it has been immersed since the fall of Pedro Castillo on past December 7.
Since then, they live protests in different parts of the country, with roadblocks, assaults on airports and 58 deaths, according to the latest report from the Ombudsman’s Office.
Under the slogan “Que se vayan todos”, the demonstrators demand the resignation of Boluarte, the dissolution of Congress and immediate elections. Some also demand a new Constitution for Peru.
Although at first he assured that he would exhaust Pedro Castillo’s term and remain in office until 2026, Boluarte has been modifying his position under the pressure of protests and polls that show that a majority of Peruvians see immediate elections as the only way to go. way out of the crisis. According to the Institute of Peruvian Studies, almost 75% of the population he wants the elections to take place as soon as possible.
First, it promoted the holding of the elections in April 2024, which has been preliminarily approved in Congress. But that did not subside the demonstrations and he later advocated an electoral process as early as 2023.
His attempts have collided to date with the refusal of Congress, which also appears in the polls with a minimum percentage of approval. Protesters in Peru and comments in the media accuse congressmen of clinging to the seat and thus preventing a solution for the country.
The president of the Congress, José Williams, informed that this Thursday the sessions will resume and the proposals that have been presented will be examined. A new attempt is coming.
What does the bill propose?
According to Otárola said after presenting the project, it sets theto first round for the second Sunday of October of this year.
The elections would be general and a new president, vice-president and the members of a new Congress would be elected.
The objective is that all of them could assume their positions in the first months of 2024.
The government recognizes that the country is in an emergency situation, which also has a serious economic impact. Roadblocks have caused shortages of food, fuel and other basic products in several departments of the country. Some of the main mines have had to suspend their activities, and international tourism has almost disappeared.
What can happen
Since the crisis broke out, Congress has debated several times the possible electoral advance. In a first vote, it was accepted to advance them to April 2024, but, as a constitutional reform would imply, a second vote is required in a later legislature, which has not yet occurred.
The still unfulfilled promise of an election in April 2024 did not satisfy the protesters, who have continued their mobilizations.
With the declared objective of unblocking the situation, the Fujimorista Hernando Guerra promoted an alternative text to hold the elections in 2023. After intense debate, the proposal included “complementary” elections, by which the new authorities would have a shortened mandate until 2026. But the proposal was also rejected.
Given the background, there are reasons to be skeptical about the government’s bill passing.
Some positions seem irreconcilable.
Spokesmen for the benches furthest to the right, such as Renovación Popular or Avanza País, reject the dissolution of Congress and the elections for congressmen.
While the groups further to the left, such as Peru Libre or the Magisterial Bloc, now maintain that they will only support a law for the early calling of elections if it also contemplates a referendum on a Constituent Assembly. The entanglement continues and even the preliminary approved date of April 2024 can no longer be taken for granted.
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