Peruvian government presents bill to create constitutional assembly

Lima, Apr 25 (EFE).- President Pedro Castillo on Monday presented to the Peruvian Congress in Lima a constitutional reform bill that allows the formation of a Constitutional Assembly and the holding of a referendum to consult the public about whether they want a new national charter.

In an official letter sent to the head of Parliament, Maria del Carmen Alva, the president “urgently” requested that the bill be brought up for debate and a vote before the full legislature.

In addition, Castillo asked for the constitutional proposal to be presented to the public in a referendum on Oct. 2, when Peruvians will head to the polls anyway to vote in municipal and regional elections.

The document emphasizes that the public will be asked: “Do you approve of the convening of a Constitutional Assembly tasked with preparing a new political Constitution?”

Shortly after the text of the bill became known, Prime Minister Anibal Torres held a press conference at which he said that if the “yes” option prevails in the referendum he will have to convene the Constitutional Assembly, which will then work to craft a new Peruvian charter to replace the current one put into effect in 1993 by the administration of President Alberto Fujimori, who governed from 1990-2000.

Torres insisted that neither Castillo nor the members of his government will draft “a single letter” of the potential new constitution, as the bill establishes, the text also saying that during the preparation of the new document all government entities will “fully retain their duties, powers and functions.”

He said that the Constitutional Assembly would be made up of 130 members, have a “plurinational” character and that 40 percent of the representatives would come from political organizations while 30 percent would be independent candidates, 26 percent from the indigenous peoples and the remaining 4 percent from the African-Peruvian community.

“All will be elected democratically and not appointed,” emphasized Torres, who in an apparent message to his opponents said that “nobody calling themselves a liberal will be able to restrict the freedom of the public to express its will via a referendum.”

After it is finalized, “the new Constitution will once again be subjected to a referendum to be approved by the public,” the prime minister said, after noting that this would be a “long” process and would not be completed quickly.

Currently, the government holds 32 of the 130 seats in Congress and enjoys the support of 12 lawmakers from other political groupings linked to the Castillo administration.

EFE csr/gdl/eat/bp

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