Four political parties last week signed what they called a ‘governability accord’. They include Acción Popular, Alianza para el Progreso, Somos Perú and Podemos Perú. At the last minute the Partido Morado dropped out of the agreement and was replaced by Podemos Perú. The latter has two more seats in Congress than the former. Together the four should, if they can act together, form a majority in Congress. Acción Popular looks like winning the presidency of the legislature when it takes office officially early next month.
Meetings were scheduled for this weekend to try and iron out differences. Each party appears to have different understandings of the political and judicial reforms which will occupy much of the time and effort of the new Congress.
The inclusion of Podemos Perú may prove controversial. It is the party of José Luna, the lieutenant of Luis Castañeda Lossio, the former mayor of Lima who was jailed the previous week for two years while investigations into corruption proceed. Luna himself is under suspicion of being involved in corrupt activities.
The leading figure on Podemos Peru’s congressional bench will be Daniel Urresti, a former army officer and interior minister, who won more votes than any other candidate on 26 January. He led a xenophobic campaign focused on issues of citizen (in)security and the need to crack down on crime.
The new Congress, elected on 26 January, promises to accelerate consideration of President Martín Vizcarra’s reform package which had previously been held up by the pro-Fujimori party, Fuerza Popular, with its large majority in the previous Congress. However, disagreements have already surfaced over, for example, the details of lifting parliamentary immunities from prosecution.
The parties joining the ‘governability accord’ also have their own agendas when it comes to campaigning for the coming general election. Meanwhile, there will be competition between them in deciding who should chair key committees in Congress. With political reform high on the agenda, all will want to maximise their influence over the constitution committee.
The solidity of the coalition may not last very long.