as such Peru Erupting in protest as supporters of its former president took to the streets, lawmakers on Friday rejected a constitutional reform needed to trigger early general elections in 2023.
Calls for early presidential and parliamentary elections have mounted since former President Pedro Castillo was ousted from power last week after he tried to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government.
And on Thursday, Castillo’s successor, President Dina Poulwart, asked Congress to “make the best options to reduce deadlines and achieve the required reforms” for early elections.
“Here we all have to go: executive and legislative,” she said.
However, only 49 deputies voted in favor of the change to speed up the election process, with 33 against it and 25 abstained, failing to reach the 87 votes needed to pass the reform.
Congressional Speaker Jose Williams announced that “the constitutional reform that modifies the term of office of the president, first vice president, and members of Congress elected through the 2021 election and establishes the electoral process (and) the general election in 2023 has not been approved.”
Congress later said on social media that the reconsideration vote is now on hold.
Castillo, a former teacher and union leader from rural Peru, will remain in pretrial detention for 18 months, as ordered by the country’s supreme court on Thursday, as crowds of his supporters protested outside the courtroom and across the country.
At least 20 people have been killed in the unrest and at least 340 people have been injured, according to the Office of the Ombudsman on Thursday. Ongoing protests also left hundreds of tourists stranded after the Peruvian railway company suspended trains to the region.
But so far, lawmakers appear to be resisting change. Omar Cairo, a professor of constitutional law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, told CNN: “Unfortunately, they did not hear and understand the demands of the people, and they refused to hold early elections, and therefore they have the right to remain in office until 2026.” .
The public is already looking at the Peruvian legislature with suspicion. A president and members of Congress are not allowed consecutive terms, per Peruvian law, and critics have noted their lack of political experience.
A poll published in September 2022 by the IEP showed that 84% of Peruvians disapprove of the Congress’s performance. Lawmakers are not only seen as pursuing their own interests in Congress, but also associated with corrupt practices.