Peru’s president steps up pressure on Congress to pass anti-graft reforms

World Today

Peru's president steps up pressure on Congress to pass anti-graft reforms

Peru’s president is threatening to dissolve congress unless his anti-corruption reforms are passed. It’s a high-stakes gamble to defeat the powerful opposition. CGTN’s Dan Collyns is in the Peruvian capital Lima.

Flanked by his cabinet and regional governors, Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra invoked the constitution in a television address to the nation. He referenced a measure which would authorize him to call new legislative elections unless his anti-graft proposals are passed.

Vizcarra has made anti-corruption the centerpiece of his government, and he accused lawmakers of trying to block it.

“This congressional majority is harming all Peruvians, the few who want to continue betraying the citizens, favoring the privileges and corruption at the cost of all our future,” he said. “We will not allow that once again these little tricks hold back the reforms which the country needs.”

Vizcarra’s stance follows a long line of corruption scandals with four former presidents and the leader of the opposition implicated in a massive bribery case involving the Brazilian construction Odebrecht. 

The president is counting on the support of Peruvians who voted to back his reforms in a referendum at the end of last year. They voted to clean up campaign financing and end parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

If Congress gives a vote of no-confidence and Vizcarra dissolves the chamber, new parliamentary elections could be held as early as this year.