Constitutional train crash, week two
2 June 2019
President Martín Vizcarra has once again demanded that parliament implement his political reform package, approved by referendum in December last year, or else pass a vote of no confidence in his cabinet. This is designed to force the hand of Congress, dominated by the so-called fujiappristas, as it is being interpreted as the second time Congress would deny confidence in a cabinet during the same administration.
It means that Vizcarra would have the constitutional right to dissolve parliament and call for new legislative elections. Prime Minister Salvador del Solar will be presenting the motion on 4 June; there is much speculation as to what the outcome may be.
Congressman Gilbert Violeta has asked the Constitutional Tribunal (TC) if this is procedurally correct, and it is unclear what would happen if the move was deemed unconstitutional. If considered constitutional, Congress would have to approve all the laws presented by the executive in the current legislature or run the risk of dissolution.
If Congress approves only some of the legislative changes, the executive could deem this insufficient and so close Congress. In this instance, an appeal could be lodged with the TC. If Congress, however, approved all the changes, but modified them, the executive might also consider this an obstruction and proceed with dissolution.
Some political groupings, such as APRA and the Frente Amplio have declared they will vote to support a vote of no confidence in the cabinet, the former because it does not agree with the reforms, the latter because it believes the best possible outcome would be the closure of Congress and a new election. The FA considers that the fujiaprista majority is deliberately obstructing the anti-corruption agenda.
It was the motion to reject a constitutional accusation against former Chief Prosecutor Pedro Chávarry that prompted Vizcarra to demand a vote of confidence. He has announced he is open to the idea of both closing Congress and the holding of another referendum to ensure political reform is achieved.