Congress roiled

14 October 2018

No sooner than Keiko Fujimori’s detention was announced, the Fujimorista-dominated Congress voted to halt constitutional accusations directed against Congressman Héctor Becerril and Chief Public Prosecutor Chávarry. The following day, the Fujimoristas in Congress passed a law to allow convicted persons older than 72 to be set free and supervised only by an electronic tag. The law was passed without prior discussion in a congressional committee and with the support of only the 52 members of Fuerza Popular. Not surprisingly, it has been dubbed the ‘Alberto Fujimori Law’. President Martín Vizcarra has the power to veto the law, but Congress could insist on it by taking it to the Constitutional Tribunal.

Then, on 12 October, congressional members from APRA presented a bill designed to invalidate Vizcarra’s referendum, planned for 9 December, so as to ensure they can still be re-elected. They questioned two points, one relating to re-election and the other the restoration of a bicameral legislature. Vizcarra had asked voters not to reject these because, in its deliberations on the executive’s proposals, Congress had altered the original spirit of the law of non-re-election by making it possible to be elected a deputy and then a senator, and so on in perpetuity. Hours later the Apristas withdrew their proposal claiming it had been “a mistake” to present it.

The activities of the opposition majority in Congress appear increasingly erratic; the Fujimoristas have both their historic leaders in prison (or on their way back to prison in the case of Alberto Fujimori) and, as the evidence from Lava Jato builds up, the circle could be closing in on former president Alan García.

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