22:04 GMT +319 November 2019
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    Peru's President Martin Vizcarra addresses the nation, at the government palace in Lima, Peru September 27, 2019.

    Early General Elections in Peru Set For 26 January As Nation Grapples With Political Crisis Fallout

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    Earlier, Peru’s Congress, dissolved by the country’s President on Monday, declared Martin Vizcarra temporarily unfit to govern, appointing Vice President Mercedes Araoz to replace him, against the backdrop of a political crisis engulfing Peru.

    Early parliamentary elections have been set in Peru for 26 January amidst the raging political crisis in the South American nation.

    "To call elections to a new Congress on Sunday, 26 January, 2020 to end the constitutional period of the dissolved Congress," reads the decree, signed by President Martin Vizcarra and new Prime Minister Vicente Zeballos, as cited by El Peruano newspaper.

    The decree stated that the votes of no confidence in two cabinets formed under the current government's term (2016-2021) as the reason for the Congress' dissolution.

    In line with Article 134 of the Peruvian Constitution, the president has the right to dissolve parliament should two cabinets be removed over no-confidence motions.

    According to the document, legislative powers will be exercised by a special congressional committee consisting of 27 people, which cannot be dissolved, until the new convocation.

    Political crisis grips Peru

    The recent developments follow a decree to dissolve the country's congress by President Martin Vizcarra after lawmakers boycotted his calls for anti-graft reform.

    In a televised address, Vizcarra explained his move as a consequence of lawmakers proceeding with a controversial vote to replace almost all the members of the Constitutional Tribunal.

    “We are making history that will be remembered by future generations. And when they do, I hope they understand the magnitude of this fight that we are in today against an endemic evil that has caused much harm to our country,” he said.

    In turn, the dissolved legislature declared Vizcarra temporarily unfit to govern and appointed Vice President Mercedes Araoz as acting head of state.

    The country's military and police have expressed support for the current president of the country, Martin Vizcarra, the administration of the head of state said on Twitter.

    ​Earlier this month, lawmakers in the country failed to pass a constitutional reform seeking to hold presidential elections in 2020, a year earlier than scheduled.

    The reform was proposed as part of Vizcarra’s anti-corruption drive, in a bid to overcome a political stalemate with right-wing lawmakers.

    In June, Peru’s government won a confidence vote in the country’s Congress, avoiding special legislative elections.

    As opposition leaders denounced Vizcarra’s moves, Peruvians are anticipated to applaud his decision, writes Time, as new congressional elections were hoped for to replace the majority party, led by former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is now behind bars.

    Last year Vizcarra, then vice president, rose to the presidency as he championed anti-corruption initiatives after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned in the wake of revelations that his private consulting firm had received secret payments from Odebrecht, the Brazilian construction giant that has confessed to making million-dollar payments to politicians in the Latin American region to secure lucrative public works contracts.

    Vizcarra struggled to push legislation through congress, instead repeatedly utilising a “vote of confidence” through which he could threaten to dissolve the legislature if lawmakers didn’t approve his proposals.

     

    Related:

    Peru Court Ordered 3 Years of Pre-Trial Detention for Ex-President in Graft Case
    Peru’s Dissolved Congress Appoints Vice President Araoz to Replace President Vizcarra
    Peru's Police and Military Leaders Recognize Martin Vizcarra as President After Congress Dissolved
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    Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, Alberto Fujimori, Mercedes Araoz, Martin Vizcarra, Peru
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