Peru’s President Vizcarra calls for early general elections

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Lima, July 29 (IANS) Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra on Sunday proposed moving up elections by a year as a way to overcome an impasse between the executive and congressional branches.

The proposal to move up elections from 2021 to 2020 comes after the opposition-controlled congress agreed to pass Vizcarra’s package of corruption-fighting reforms, but only after watering down the bill, Xinhua reported.

“Taking into account that the trust requested for the reforms has been approved only in words and denied in facts, I have decided, as a consequence, to once again put the interests of Peru above all,” Vizcarra said during a nationwide address marking Independence Day on Sunday.

“I propose a way out of this institutional crisis. I present Congress a constitutional reform for the calling of early general elections, which implies cutting the congressional mandate to July 28, 2020,” he added.

The reform would also shorten his presidential mandate, acknowledged Vizcarra.

“With this action, the foundations of our republic will be reinforced, even if it means we must all go,” he said.

The initiative is to be put to a referendum so Peruvians can have a direct say in the matter, he said.

Vizcarra’s reforms aim to curb rampant corruption in government, and follows a string of scandals that have undermined the public’s trust.

The reforms call for barring politicians convicted of corruption from running for public office; greater campaign finance controls; giving the judiciary greater power to strip legislators of immunity from prosecution if suspected of graft; strengthening grassroots participation in political parties; and promoting gender equality, among other things.

–IANS

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