Rosa Bartra and the art of delay

6 July 2019

As widely predicted, including by PSG, the ‘fujiaprista’ majority on the congressional constitution committee appear to be doing their best to procrastinate in delivering the political reforms demanded of them by the executive.

With the closure of Congress fast approaching on 25 July, the committee has only delivered on two of the six proposals put before it by the executive branch. These are PL 4190 which concerns the rules concerning impediments to candidates standing who have criminal antecedents, and PL 4188 on the registration of political parties.

It has taken more than a month to get this far. It was on 5 June that Congress approved the motion of confidence in the government’s plans for political reform as the condition for avoiding immediate dissolution.

As Martín Tanaka has suggested, the thorniest issues are still to be approved. These include the rules governing the selection of candidates (through open primaries) (PL 4187) and the removal from Congress of the right to withdraw parliamentary immunities (PL 4116). The other two proposals include the specification of what constitutes illegal party funding (PL 4819) and the changes to the list system of voting (PL 4486).

On 5 July, Rosa Bartra, the committee’s fujimorista president made clear her opposition to PL 4187 on the grounds that primaries to select candidates should not be open but restricted solely to a party’s members. As we went to press, it was unclear how the executive would react if this change was approved by the committee. Would this represent a ‘substantial change’ to the legislative package or not?

With 14 working days to go, time is clearly running out. The tactics of Bartra and her friends seem to be those of provocation: to taunt the government into taking a decision about dissolution, an act that the opposition would frame as an authoritarian move designed to shut down a duly-elected and legally-constituted parliament.

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    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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