Peru: Impeachment motion to be debated at Congress

Peruvian Congress headquarters. Photo: ANDINA/Congress of the Republic

Peruvian Congress headquarters. Photo: ANDINA/Congress of the Republic

09:02 | Lima, Sep. 18.

Today, Congress members will debate the impeachment motion introduced against President of the Republic Martin Vizcarra on the grounds of alleged permanent moral incapacity.

The motion was introduced after leaked audio recordings were shared in Congress by opposition lawmakers.

The President has regretted the situation and apologized to the country because a person from the Presidential Office —whom he trusted— created this situation with baseless claims and without any foundation.

As is known, the Congress of the Republic filed the aforementioned motion on September 10.

The next day, Parliament admitted the motion to be discussed and voted on September 18. This decision received 65 votes in favor, 36 against, and 24 abstentions. Only 52 votes in favor (40%) were enough to admit it.

Later, on September 14, the Government of Peru filed a competence claim and a precautionary measure before the Constitutional Court (TC) in response to the impeachment motion against President Vizcarra.

According to Peruvian Justice and Human Rights Minister Ana Neyra the goal was for the highest organization, in charge of interpreting the Constitution, to be the one that determines how the cause for permanent moral incapacity should be interpreted, as it is wrongly and unconstitutionally imputed to the President.

The Cabinet member explained that the administration's purpose was to establish a legal strategy to prove that the way —in which Congress is interpreting the cause of moral incapacity for the impeachment— is not compatible with the country's system of government, affects the powers of the Executive Branch, and undermines the constitutional order.

However, it rejected the precautionary measure filed by the Ministry of Justice to temporarily suspend the impeachment proceeding in Congress.

According to Constitutional Court (TC) Chairwoman Marianella Ledesma, the decision on the competence claim received 6 votes in favor and 1 against, while the precautionary measure was rejected by a 5-2 vote.

Regarding the precautionary measure —which was intended to suspend the impeachment process— Ledesma affirmed that its rejection responded to the fact that the Court did not see an urgent need to do so.

She remarked that, in light of the statements made by the main political parties' leaders at Congress affirming that they would not support the impeachment motion, the risk of this happening has weakened.

It must be noted that the impeachment itself needs 87 votes in order to remove the Head of State from office.

Roberto Pereira, the lawyer of President Martin Vizcarra, has expressed confidence in the defense arguments and expects Congress will rise to the needs of the country, thus making the best decision.


Published: 9/18/2020
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