Congress agrees to special legislative rights

24 June 2015

Following weeks of prevarication, the Peruvian Congress finally agreed on 18 June to giving the executive branch special faculties to legislate on matters concerning the economy and public security. This was approved in a vote of 86 in favour, 21 against and four abstentions.

Only a week before, voting had to be abandoned for lack of a quorum as most of the opposition walked out, thus preventing a vote taking place. The agreement of the ruling party to the suspension of one of its supporters, Alejandro Yovera, removed this obstacle. He had originally been elected on the Frente Popular ticket, but apparently had been less than honest in his CV details.

The executive, however, did not get all its own way. The delegation of legislative authority will only last for 90 days, not the 120 days originally requested. The Congress also made a number of amendments to the bill before it was approved.

The economic measures that will now be enacted without parliamentary approval are designed to improve the investment climate by reducing red tape, facilitating activities in capital markets and making it easier to set-up private-public partnerships. There are measures contemplated which will facilitate house purchase and leasing. Three of the topics requested by the Ministry of Energy and Mines were ruled out by the Congress, including amendments to the General Law on Mining as well as Hydrocarbons, which congressmen argued were too generic in scope.

So far as public security is concerned, the legislative faculties will be used to make changes in the financing and administration of penal establishments, tougher conditions for those guilty of acting as hired assassins (sicarios), measures to clamp down on juvenile crime, and to enhance public surveillance methods.

However, what the government proposes to do will only become clearer with time, as the devil is likely to reside in the detail.

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