Kenji Fujimori suspended, but not ousted
10 June 2018
On 6 June, members of Congress decided to suspend Kenji Fujimori, Bienvenido Ramírez and Guillermo Bocángel while the judiciary investigates alleged vote-buying designed to maintain then president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in power last March. Kenji has declared that he has been the victim of bullying within Fuerza Popular (FP) and that this led him in the past to defy the party whip -- and even not to vote for his own sister in the tightly disputed 2016 presidential election. Kenji Fujimori has described the feud as “medieval” and has accused his sister of never wanting their father’s freedom. He says that she is still convinced that the election was stolen from her.
Karina Beteta, an FP member of Congress, declared on 3 June that her party would not protect Kenji and would do everything possible to ensure he is expelled from Congress and faces criminal charges. She also noted that some legislators wanted to prevent Kenji Fujimori’s expulsion from Congress because this might risk Fuerza Popular losing the presidency of the mesa directiva where most of the important decisions are taken.
Kenji’s suspension (and that of his two colleagues) was successful, even if the voting had to be done twice because in the first instance nine of the 30 members of the permanent commission had also voted, contrary to procedure. This proved crucial in the end, as the three legislators were suspended by 58 votes out of a total of 130. There have been calls as to the legality of the suspension, and Kenji has declared he will contest the procedure in the Constitutional Tribunal.
He has also once again cautioned his sister, saying that though she might now have his head served up on a plate, he would continue the legal fight. He told his sister that “Congress is not your chacra”, which roughly translates to her back yard.
Kenji Fujimori will now have to answer to the judiciary because his parliamentary immunity has been lifted. He still has recourse to challenging the vote that caused his suspension. Perhaps more crucially, the motion for his expulsion failed for lack of support. So, even though his situation is precarious, he is still a member (albeit suspended) of Congress. 67 votes were needed to expel him, and the FP members failed to drum up enough support from other parties to do so.