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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Peruvian president aims to dissolve congress

    By Brittany Snow

    Staff Writer

       On Sep. 30, Peruvian president Martín Vizcarra ordered Congress to dissolve, which prompted lawmakers to attempt to suspend him, leading to a relapse of the nation’s uncertainty following a yearlong corruption crisis. 

       The move to disband Congress was Vizcarras last recourse to force new parliamentary elections, which have been repeatedly blocked by the opposition controlled legislature. 

       “Vizcarra is trying to dissolve the Congress like any dictator,” opposition lawmaker Juan Sheput wrote on Twitter during the congressional session that night.

       Under the Peruvian law, new parliamentary elections would be held within four months once the Congress is dissolved. However, it was unclear whether lawmakers would comply with Vizcarra’s order and what actions the president was prepared to take to put the dissolution into effect.

       “The closure seems a democratic solution to the problem that’s been plaguing the country for three years,” Vizcarra said, after an emergency cabinet meeting on Sep. 30. “Let the people finally decide who is right.”

       Recently, bribery cases have taken over the country’s politics and decimated its governing class. Former presidents and party leaders have been arrested in response to this issue, including Opposition Party leader Keiko Fujimori in 2018. 

       Labeling Vizcarra’s decision as “outside of the Constitution,” lawmaker Alejandra Aramayo said during the session that “every decision taken outside the Constitution is a coup d’état,’ or an unconstitutional seizing power by a dictator.

       In 1992, the country’s newly elected president, Alberto Fujimori, father of Keiko Fujimori, used a similar argument of national renewal to justify the dissolution of Congress. He then began his campaign of demolishing the country’s democratic institutions. 

       According to Carlos Meléndez, an expert in Peruvian politics at the Diego Portales University in Santiago, Chile, the clash was a culmination of a long-running conflict between a president who derived his legitimacy from popular support and a Congress that appeals to the Constitution.

       “It is a paradox that a politician with democratic values can end up weakening the democracy,” Meléndez stated to the New York Times. “In his anxiousness for confrontation, the president is confusing his political rivals with the institution they represent.”

       Under the country’s Constitution, Vizcarra will be unable to run in a new presidential election.

       Throughout this process, Opposition lawmakers nominated Peru’s vice president, Mercedes Aráoz, as the new acting head of state. 

       “I accept this with fortitude,” Aráoz said before Congress of a provisional presidency. “It is one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my life.”

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    Peruvian president aims to dissolve congress