30 May 2019
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra on Wednesday threatened to dissolve Congress unless his anti-graft proposals are passed, raising the stakes in a power struggle with the opposition that could usher in a new period of political turmoil in one of Latin America’s most robust economies.
Invoking a constitutional measure that allows presidents to call new legislative elections if Congress votes against his government, Vizcarra said policies he has proposed to end entrenched corruption were the centerpiece of his administration. He accused lawmakers of forging a “pact of impunity” with the suspects of corruption investigations.
“I’ve said it before and say it again today. Our firm decision to correct and change the political and justice system affects powerful interests that are protected by unscrupulous politicians,” Vizcarra said in a televised message, flanked by his Cabinet and regional governors.
The move immediately triggered cries of “coup” from allies of opposition lawmakers on social media, and could stir some debate over its legality, potentially turning into a constitutional crisis that could detract from the government’s efforts to build infrastructure and pass a labor reform package.
But Vizcarra is betting that most Peruvians support him over Congress following back-to-back graft scandals that have that have widely discredited Peru’s institutions in recent years.
By Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino, Reuters, 29 May 2019
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