Peru gov’t eyes repeal of ‘anti-referendum’ law via no-confidence vote

Lima, Nov 17 (EFE).- Peru’s prime minister on Thursday sought to use the mechanism of a no-confidence vote to scrap a law that restricts citizens’ ability to reform the constitution via referendum.

Anibal Torres said the bill leftist President Pedro Castillo’s administration introduced Thursday before Congress aimed to re-establish “popular political participation” through the repeal of Law 31399.

The use of a no-confidence vote to cancel the law raised the political stakes.

Under Peru’s constitution, if Congress issues a vote of no-confidence Castillo’s entire Cabinet would have to step down.

However, if a second no-confidence vote were to be subsequently held and the outcome were the same, that could lead to the shutdown of Congress and new legislative elections.

Torres, who added that under Peru’s constitution if Congress refuses to hold a confidence vote that in itself is to be considered a vote of no confidence, said the executive branch has no intention of closing down the unicameral legislature.

During his appearance before Congress, the prime minister explained the fundamentals of the proposed legislation and its “necessity for the government’s political viability.”

He added that Law 31399 infringed upon “one of the most important rights” in the constitution and “one of the foundations of the democratic rule of law” – the possibility for citizens to trigger a referendum on constitutional reforms.

Approved early this year, that law establishes that all proposed constitutional reforms must have the prior approval of the legislative branch before they can be put to a referendum.

“No one can limit the sovereign power … representatives can’t go above the power of the represented, who are the Peruvian people,” Torres said.

In his remarks to Congress, he added that the Peruvian people elected the president and the lawmakers last year for a five-year period and called for an end to the constant clashes between those two branches of government dating back to Castillo’s inauguration in July of last year.

Castillo, 53, was a schoolteacher with no previous political experience when he ran for president. Since narrowly winning victory in a runoff, he has been under constant pressure from Congress and the judiciary. EFE


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