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  • Magistrates must have an impeccable ethical trajectory, Vizcarra stated.

    Magistrates must have an impeccable ethical trajectory, Vizcarra stated. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 September 2019

On September 30th Parliament will elect six of the seven members of that body.

Peru's executive and legislator are once again coming to heads as President Martin Vizcarra announced on Friday that he would ask for a vote of confidence from the opposition-run Congress that would allow him to dismiss lawmakers if they reject his request. The vote would allow him to "change the rules of election of the members of the Constitutional Court."

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Under Peru's constitution, presidents can dissolve Congress if the legislative body delivers two votes of no-confidence against an administration. The current Congress has already cast a no-confidence vote this government once before.

Vizcarra made the move in order to try to prevent further corruption and special interest ties between legislators and the judicial branch.

Congress "seeks to appoint judges who respond to their interests, which are not the interests of the nation,” referring to proposed candidates who have been offered a vote by certain, unnamed legislators if they rule to free opposition legislator, Keiko Fujimori, who is currently in preventative detention for allegedly receiving approximately US$1 million in campaign money from Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential election. 

Congress is to name six, out of seven, new CC justices who are up for reappointment on Monday, Sept. 30. Shortly after that, the court is due to rule on the pretrial jail term for Fujimori. Her return to Congress could likely tip votes to the opposition's favor.

"The Constitutional Court is the highest body that oversees compliance with the Constitution and respect for fundamental rights. The country requires that its magistrates enjoy an impeccable ethical trajectory. Therefore, the election process must be plural, public and transparent," Vizcarra stated to Congress on Friday.​​​​

He added that Peruvians should not allow "a return to the past", where "agreements under the table were common practice to take over institutions to the detriment of the interests of the great majorities.”

The vote of confidence allows the administration to ask Congress to approve his change of certain policies, and quickly. In this case, the president wants to revise how the highest court's judges are selected.

Peru's political system has been working through a scurge of corruption scandals over the past couple of years that has resulted in former president ​​​​​​​Pedro Pablo Kuczynski being voted out his post by Congress.

Former president Jorge Toledo is currently incarcerated in California awaiting extradition for embezzling around US$20 million in Odebrecht deals, and Alan Garcia killed himself when police arrived to his home last April with the intent to arrest him on similar charges. The nation's judicial system was declared in a state of emergency several months ago for a corruption scandal of special interest rulings that were taking place nationwide and at all levels of government. 

Rather than try to ask for a no-confidence vote to arrange for early elections, Viczarra opted to ask for the vote to change the rules on judge selection policies. ​​​​​​​

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