Peru Congress agrees to reconsider vote on moving up elections
Lima, Jan 30 (EFE).- The Peruvian Congress on Monday approved a request to reconsider last Friday’s vote to reject a bill to move up the country’s general elections to October 2023.
The decision to revisit the matter, made in a 66-44 vote with six abstentions, had the decisive support of the head of Congress, rightist Jose Williams, and thus achieved the minimum number of “yes” votes to be adopted.
Thus, the Congress will once again discuss the issue to try and obtain a consensus – and the 87 votes needed – to agree to move up the elections, a move that, if approved, will need to be voted on once again in the upcoming legislature since it involves a constitutional reform.
At the beginning of the congressional debate, the author of the request to reconsider the issue, Fujimori supporter Arturo Alegria, told lawmakers that they have “to provide support to the citizenry” and take “into account the crisis” confronting Peru, a reference to the anti-government demonstrations that have resulted in 65 deaths since last December.
In response, the spokesman for the Marxist Peru Libre party, Flavio Cruz, said that “the public is demanding that (President Dina Boluarte) resign” and “that would help (achieve) the solution that the whole country is seeking.”
After rejecting the possibility of approving moving the election up to October, he called for the full Congress to take into account a minority opinion presented by his party asking to move up the election to within four months and to include a consultation regarding a constitutional assembly.
Jose Jeri, the spokesman for the center-right Somos Peru party, said that Congress “should approve this reconsideration because the extremes are playing their game” and “an equilibrium point must be found” to achieve “a minimal accord” among the various political factions.
Meanwhile, Ruth Luque, with the leftist Juntos por el Peru party, also said that Boluarte should resign or Congress should discuss removing her from office, while Adriana Tudela, with the rightist Avanza Pais party, insisted that “elections be held within a reasonable time, in peace and with minimal reforms.”
In turn, Jorge Montoya, with the ultraconservative Renovacion Popular party, rejected any possibility of advancing the elections to a date before 2026, when the current presidential term is due to end, and Fujimori supporter Patricia Juarez said that “this is a difficult moment” and the aim should be “to achieve the yearned-for pacification of the country” and to agree to move up the elections.
After lawmakers agreed to revisit the issue, the president of the Constitutional Committee, Fujimori supporter Hernando Guerra Garcia called for another break in debate to meet with representatives from the different congressional factions and “propose a way out for the country.”
The full Congress on Friday rejected moving up the general elections to next October after debating for more than eight hours a bill put forward by Guerra Garcia.
In that way, lawmakers also had shelved another bill that was approved on Dec. 20 to move up the elections to April 2024.