Government seeks to regroup after Ley Pulpin fiasco
14 February 2015
The Humala administration – and in particular Prime Minister Ana Jara – has engaged in a damage limitation strategy in the last two weeks to repair the harm done to it by the drubbing it received in Congress at the end of January when it was forced to repeal its controversial youth labour law (see a recent PSG article at http://www.perusupportgroup.org.uk/article-798.html). Opposition parties – notably APRA and the Fujimorista Fuerza Popular (FP) – had demanded the scalps of various ministers as a condition for future support.
On February 9, Humala hosted a meeting of party leaders to discuss policy options for the future, an invitation designed to re-engage with congressional and party leaders and to divide the opposition. Almost all of those with a presence in Congress accepted the invitation, except APRA and FP – the two parties with the best chances of success in next year’s presidential elections. According to Alan Garcia, the leader of APRA, the meeting in the palace was just a “smokescreen” to hide a number of scandals in government.
Among the agreements reached was the temporary de-activation of the intelligence service (DINI), accused of orchestrating espionage on leading politicians, including the vice-president, Marisol Espinoza. The grouping also agreed to reconvene in two weeks time to ponder further policy matters. García has said that he will boycott this meeting too.
However, the dialogue with other political leaders appears to have helped defuse a situation in which Jara looked like being the sixth prime minister to be sacrificed in three-and-a-half years of the Humala administration, along – possibly – with other key ministers like Interior Minister Daniel Urresti and Defence Minister Pedro Cateriano, both of whom are high on APRA’s and FP’s hit list. While some opposition groups were preparing a motion of censure in Congress against the Jara cabinet in mid-February, it was by no means clear whether this would attract sufficient support to be upheld.