Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra used the constitution to dissolve Congress on Monday to end a year-long battle with right-wing lawmakers over his anti-graft campaign, but rebel legislators refused to leave the assembly building.
CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports from Lima.
With an address to the nation late on Monday, President Martín Vizcarra dissolved congress.
The streets of Lima began to fill, not with protesters, but with thousands of people welcoming the decision and celebrating outside the congress building.
The demonstration was mostly peaceful. There was however some tense exchanges with the police as many people called for the remaining members of Congress to be turned out onto the street.
“We are just waiting for new elections to be called and that they leave now, now! and stop calling themselves lawmakers, they are no longer lawmakers; they are usurpers, said marcher Tatiana Cuarhuaricra.
Waving a Peruvian flag, Julio Franz said: “These lawmakers have taken control of Congress and are trying to evade the responsibility which the people have entrusted in them.”
Immediately after Vizcarra’s announcement on Monday, there were chaotic scenes in the house.
The majority opposition cried ‘dictator’ and voted to declare him temporarily suspended from office, replacing him with Vice President Mercedes Aráoz, who resigned the following day.
Other leftist lawmakers, however, supported the president’s decision and left willingly, such as Indira Huilca.
“What’s most important is that this act allows the advance of something which the people have been calling for: The fight against impunity and corruption, which in recent years has penetrated all political sectors and is strongly linked to the business sector,” she told CGTN.
“This will allow us time to discuss our future away from this corruption.”
Despite popular support, Vizcarra had struggled to pass anti-corruption reforms through the opposition-controlled assembly.
“The Congress has very low approval levels of less than 10%, according to the polls, said Ivan Lanegra, a political science professor at Lima’s Catholic University.
“A proposal for early elections was rejected by a congressional majority but supported by around 70% of Peruvians,” he added.
“In that sense, this move to dissolve of congress will have strong support.”
With legislative elections set for the beginning of next year, analysts say Vizcarra will now have emergency powers to pass those long-delayed reforms.