A total of 44 congressmen were against the initiative, so the votes would not be enough for it to prosper. For its part, a survey by El Comercio shows that the constitutional reform to establish a constituent assembly would not have been successful in the plenary either. /smart/filters:format(jpeg):quality(75)/cloudfront-us-east-1.images.arcpublishing.com/elcomercio/VC7OY72JLFDUDACLUNTWSIKR5Q.jpg” media=”(max-width: 360px)”/>
As a consequence of the growing discredit of the government and Congress, the proposal for an early general election has been placed on the agenda (illustration: Jean Izquierdo/EC)
Sebastián RualesMartin Hidalgo Bustamante
Less than a year into his administration, the political crisis has translated into alarming figures for his protagonists: 72% reject President Pedro Castillo and 82% disapprove of the Congress of the Republic, according to the latest Ipsos Peru survey. As a consequence of the growing loss of prestige, the proposal to advance the general elections has been placed on the agenda.
On May 3, non-grouped congresswoman Susel Paredes presented bill 1918/2021-CR, which proposes cutting presidential terms and congressional until July 2023. If the initiative is approved, the general elections would take place three years earlier than expected.
“The public evidence of poor government management and the insufficient responses of its main spokespersons to the cumulative and sustained criticism and complaints about alleged acts of corruption have ended up generating a climate of general mistrust, both in the government itself and in Congress. of the Republic”, states the proposal in the explanatory statement section.
The document also explains that the initiative replicates the legal formula that was used in the year 2000, when the general elections were brought forward during the third term of Alberto Fujimori.
“The proposed constitutional reform does not suffer from unconstitutionality and is unquestionable in its terms, by replicating the legal formula that allowed overcoming, at the time, the crisis of governance generated by the corruption scandals revealed at the end of the year 2000 and the untimely resignation of the position presented by the then president Alberto Fujimori from Japan”, indicates the text.
This, without However, it is not the first proposal in this regard presented in the current Congress. April, the parliamentarian of Free Peru, Pasión Dávila, presented a bill that proposed cutting the presidential and congressional mandates until July 2023. The initiative, however, was left without effect after four of his bench colleagues withdrew their signatures from the proposal.
“Since the disapproval of both the President of the Republic and Congress itself is high and constantly growing, a moderate solution to this institutional crisis and political crisis, is that the pollsters themselves show in the various polls carried out, the solution would be to hold new general elections”, reads the explanatory statement of the document.
For her part, the congresswoman of Podemos Peru, Digna Calle, presented a similar proposal. Like the other projects, the initiative proposes that the presidential and congressional mandates be cut until July 2023.
According to the statement of reasons for bill 1897/2021-CR, the advancement of elections is a necessity that responds to “the existence of the sustained political crisis that the population has felt for eight months”, as well as “the government incompetence” and “a congressional agenda that does not prioritize the citizen.” These facts – the document points out – generated “episodes of ungovernability”.
According to the proposal, President Castillo would have to call general elections 48 hours after the initiative is approved. The elections, meanwhile, would be held on the last Sunday of March 2023.
The El Comercio Data Journalism Unitcarried out a survey in order to know the positions of the 130 parliamentarians on a possible advance of general elections in the current context. Of these, 81 congressmen responded or made their opinions known through other means of communication and/or social networks.
In total, 44 legislators have been against the proposal and 28 in favor. Others did not specify their position.
Given that the initiative to advance elections implies a constitutional reform, it must obtain 87 votes in favor in two ordinary legislatures. If the figures collected by El Comercio are taken into account, it can be seen that the necessary votes for the approval of the proposal in the plenary session of Congress would hardly be reached. This is due to the fact that, in the event that 44 parliamentarians vote against the project -as the poll indicates-, only 86 votes will remain, one less than is necessary for the proposal to prosper.
The survey also reveals that, of all those interviewed, the majority of votes against the advancement of elections come from both the ruling party Free Peru and Fuerza Popular and < b>Popular Action.
“If it is the only option to remove Pedro Castillo, yes (I am favor of early elections)”, assured the parliamentarian of Avanza País, Adriana Tudela.
Other legislators, for their part, indicated that they would only support the proposal if a political and electoral reform is given beforehand. Jorge Morante (Popular Force) indicated that “if this early election is accompanied by a series of reforms, such as the bicameral system and the change of authorities in the electoral bodies, he could support a proposal that complies with those requirements.”
Advance elections by caucus
In the same vein, Ruth Luque, from Cambio Democrático (formerly Together for Peru), indicated that she would agree with the proposal only “if there are clear political reforms, otherwise it is more of the same”.
Eduardo Salhuana (Alliance for Progress) took a similar stance. He assured that he would support a reform of early elections only in case there is a “prior reform of the political regime”.
On the other hand, Roberto Chiabra (Alliance for Progress) was against the initiatives presented by his colleagues, considering that “we must follow the constitutional course.” According to the parliamentarian, the early elections should only happen in case Pedro Castillo is vacated or resigns and, later, the same happens with the vice president, Dina Boluarte.
Kira Alcaraz (Somos Peru) considered that an early election “could be worse than the disease.”
< p itemprop="description" class="story-contents__font-paragraph">“I have never clung to the idea of being a congressman, because I am a resident and a social leader above all. However, advancing the elections in the current circumstances and under the same rules of the game, could end up making a president worse than the one we have ”, she affirmed.
From Free Peru, parliamentarian Alex Flores said he was not opposed to an early general election, “ provided that this has a legitimate motivation, which has not been substantiated so far.”
For the political scientist Omar Awapara, the main reason for the rejection of the proposal to advance the elections is the refusal of the congressmen to assume responsibility for the current political crisis.
“We have seen that this Congress is somewhat blind to what public opinion expresses in the approval polls. They do not accept that the loss of prestige in public opinion is shared (between Congress and the government) ”, he maintains.
However, unlike what happened in 2019, when Martín Vizcarra made his proposal to advance elections a banner of his government, the current proposal “is not having the exposure that it could have. ”, so its file would hardly generate a response in the population.
For the analyst, the proposal will hardly be approved, even at the of commission.
“Perhaps if the initiative had been presented after two or three years of government it would have been more well received. But in the first year I see it very unlikely that the way out of the political crisis implies the voluntary exit of the political actors who are the protagonists. It is difficult for a proposal to be approved by the same people who are going to lose power. It would be like signing your death warrant,” he says.
The other reform: the constituent assembly and a new Constitution
On May 6, the Constitution and Regulations Commission of Congress Shelved the bill presented by the Executive that proposed reforming the Constitution to allow the convening of a constituent assembly to draw up a new Magna Carta to be submitted to a referendum.
As in the case of the proposal to advance the elections, to be approved this initiative would have required reaching 87 favorable votes in the plenary session of Congress. EC Data consulted the congressmen of the Republic about their position on the matter and found that 66 were against it. Therefore, if all the remaining legislators (64) had been in favor of the reform, the necessary votes for its approval would not have been gathered.
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