Following President Martín Vizcarra’s dramatic move on 30 September in dissolving Congress, the fujimorista opposition has sought to regroup in the Permanent Commission (CP). This is composed of 27 former members of Congress who will sit in lieu of Congress until the future legislative elections on January 26. Reflecting the composition of the former legislature, the majority of members of the CP are from Fuerza Popular and its allies.
The CP is chaired by the former president of Congress, Pedro Olaechea. Olaechea was only elected president of Congress in July. He is a conservative politician who, while not formally a member of FP, was selected by FP and its allies. He is a strong supporter of the right-wing movement ‘No te metas con mis hijos’. He was not slow in condemning Vizcarra for perpetrating what he argued was an unconstitutional power-grab at the expense of the elected legislature.
Subsequently the CP has sought to appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal. On 2 October, it approved a resolution authorising Olaechea to submit a request to the tribunal that it judge the constitutionality of Vizcarra’s closure of Congress. This move has been widely attacked as going beyond the functions allotted to the CP, and a legal writ has been taken out against Olaechea for “usurpation of functions”.
Article 134 of the constitution specifies that the CP will session until new legislative elections are held. It cannot be dissolved during this period. Article 135 specifies that during the interregnum, the executive will legislate by means of urgent legislative decrees and that the CP has the job of considering these and then referring them to the new Congress once it is elected.
Whether or not Olaechea and friends manage to turn the CP into a political sound box, there is little doubt that this last week has been a huge victory for Vizcarra, and a further defeat for the Fujimoris and their followers.