Peru’s Congress opens the door to moving up elections to 2023
Lima, Jan 27 (EFE).- A plenary session of Peru’s Congress approved a proposal on Friday to reconsider bringing forward general elections in the country to this year, instead of in April 2024, as initially planned.
The decision was taken with 78 votes in favor, 34 against and 7 abstentions, after an intense more than four-hour long debate.
The proposal was presented by the president of the Constitution Commission, Hernando Guerra García, belonging to the pro-Fujimori Fuerza Popular.
On Dec. 20, the Congress had decided to move up the next general election, set up for 2026, to April 2024.
After the approval of the proposal, the president of Congress, José Williams, immediately opened a debate on a possible new date for the elections, which Guerra Garcia proposed be held in October.
Guerra García proposes that a new president and two vice presidents be elected during the elections, in addition to 130 lawmakers and 5 representatives to the Andean Parliament, with an eventual presidential runoff in early December.
“It is a necessity of our country, it is up to us now, to vote in this regard,” he said, adding that the objective was “to provide relief” to his country “and to the citizens who are listening to us,” referring to the anti-government protests that have left 64 people dead since December.
Being a constitutional reform, such a vote must be approved by 87 lawmakers in two consecutive legislatures.
For this reason, if the new proposal is approved, it will have to be put to vote again by the plenary session in the next legislature, which the Constitution Committee has proposed to begin on Feb. 15.
Peruvian President Dina Boluarte also urged Congress on Friday to approve bringing forward the elections to 2023, in response to one of the main demands of the anti-government protests, which also call for her resignation, the closure of Congress and the convocation of a constituent assembly.
To date, 46 protesters have died in clashes with security forces, while one police officer was burned to death by demonstrators, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.
Eleven deaths have also occurred in incidents related to roadblocks and one death in the northern region of La Libertad, the police said.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported the death of four Haitians who could not receive medical assistance due to road blockades, in addition to an unborn baby confirmed by UNICEF, taking the total of deaths due to the protests since Dec. 11 to 64. EFE