Protesters in Peru call for early elections proposed by president

Latin America

Protesters in Peru call for early elections proposed by presidentProtesters in Peru call for early elections proposed by president

Protesters in Peru called for early elections. It’s an idea being proposed by President Martin Vizcarra.

He wants to end his term early and take all of Congress with him.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns explained why from Lima.

Marchers in Lima chanted “Que se vayan todos,” which translates to “all of them must go.” Peru’s elected representatives in Congress have never been popular but their approval was reaching an all-time low.

Opinion polls indicated that three quarters of Peruvians would prefer that they all go and elections are called a year early.

We want all the politicians who are in the congress to go home because they’re not doing anything for the country,” one of the protesters said.

Struggling to get anti-corruption legislation approved, Peru’s popular president Martin Vizcarra set out a plan for early elections. In a region where presidents often try to hold on to power for as long as they can, Vizcarra’s offer to step down and take a deeply unpopular congress with him is an unusual move. But as this march seems to show there’s no shortage of public support for his proposal.

At the end of last year, Peruvians voted overwhelmingly for anti-corruption reforms and to lift parliamentary immunity from prosecution. But an obstructive, opposition-dominated Congress dragged its feet in approving the clean-up measures. “What they have shown is they’re more interested in defending their own often criminal and corrupt interests than the important interests of the country,” Jorge Bracamonte, Peru’s Human Rights Coordinator, said. “And for that reason, it is fundamental that the politics in congress can be renewed with early elections.”

In a national address on Peru’s independence day, President Vizcarra said it would better for the country if he cut short his term by a year and early presidential and legislative elections were held in 2020. “With this action, the foundations of the republic will be strengthened even though it means we will all have to go,” the president said.

With three former presidents under investigation for alleged corruption, many Peruvians saw Vizcarra’s move as a noble sacrifice.

But it may not be easy, the proposal will need to be voted through Congress first. Only if approved will it go to a referendum where Peruvians will almost definitely back it.