Judicial Reform detained in Congress
16 September 2018
On 13 September the congressional commission tasked with moving forward the reform of the disgraced entity in charge of naming judicial personnel, the ‘Consejo Nacional de la Magistradura’ or CNM, was unable to pass the project to the next level in the hope of changing the law because the nine Fujimorista members voted as a block to abstain. With only seven votes in favour the proposal will not be discussed in the plenary. Ursula Letona received a phone call during the session, allegedly from Keiko Fujimori, and then instructed all of her colleagues to abstain.
Letona claimed that the commission had no mandate to discuss constitutional change, but she was challenged by the opposition who insist that this is the place for the reform to go forward. The frustration of the ruling party is so great that congressman Gilbert Violeta has asked President Vizcarra to call for a vote of confidence in the coming weeks, in the hope that the lack of support from Congress will allow him to call for the closure of Congress. The President has seen his popularity soar since he proposed profound political reform in his 28 July speech to the nation.
The vast majority of Peruvians are convinced that the Fujimoristas want to derail reform to ensure that they remain in control and are not investigated. Public prosecutor Pedro Gonzalo Chávarry remains in post, in spite of the growing number of members of the judiciary calling for his resignation.
Judicial reform is just the tip of the iceberg, as Vizcarra has also promised to reform Congress. As it is clear he will not have the required support for this, a campaign has begun to collect signatures to call for the referendum.