Aráoz receives vote of confidence

15 October 2017

The new cabinet led by Mercedes Aráoz received a vote of confidence in Congress in a lengthy session that extended into the small hours of 13 October. 83 members of Congress voted in favour and 17 against, the latter mainly from the left.

That the motion of confidence was passed came as no surprise. If it had not been passed it would have opened the way for President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski constitutionally to dissolve Congress and call new elections. For the majority Fuerza Popular (FP), with its 71 members of Congress, it was a risk not worth taking: there could be no guarantee that it would manage to maintain its absolute control over Congress in the event of fresh elections.

The vote took place after a speech by Aráoz in which she outlined the main priorities for the government, looking forwards. Described (perhaps a tad exaggeratedly) as behoving “a social revolution”, Aráoz mapped out a series of objectives to reduce poverty, eliminate corruption, improve citizen security and attract investment in the mining industry. She announced that she would be looking to Congress to give the executive special rights to legislate on matters concerning the economy and defence.

For those on the left, this amounted to more of the same, not any sort of social revolution. Humberto Morales (for the Frente Amplio) and Indira Huilca (for Nuevo Perú) said that for this reason their respective blocs would vote against the motion of confidence.

As readers of the PSG Newsletter or website will recall, the cabinet appointments announced last month by Kuczynski brought in as new members a number of new ministers with a decidedly conservative agenda. This notwithstanding, the days before the vote saw new tensions arise between the executive and the Fujimorista bloc in Congress over the president’s refusal to appear in person before the parliamentary committee investigation the Lava Jato scandals. Kuczynski had described the committee as a “circus”.

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