Bloomberg — Peruvian lawmakers ended their legislative session on Friday night by deciding to continue debates on early elections at the committee level, effectively ruling out any elections in 2023.
“There is no bill that can be presented” right now, congress president Jose Williams said before the legislature, referring to early elections. “First, they would have to be seen in the constitutional committee.”
Peru’s worst protests in decades have led to dozens of highway blockades and left more than 50 people dead from clashes between protesters and law enforcement. Unrest has battered the economy, stoking inflation and hurting key industries such as mining, tourism and agriculture.
A majority of Peruvians are demanding President Dina Boluarte’s resignation and new elections held this year, according to polls.
Boluarte has said she supports holding elections this year and not serving out her term through 2026, but has made it clear she will not resign. Instead, she wants to transfer power to a new democratically elected leader. Lawmakers have repeatedly failed to agree on an electoral deal. Boluarte led last-minute negotiations this week.
“We hope that in the first day of the next legislature Congress can continue discussing this matter,” Boluarte said Saturday, according to local media. The upcoming legislature hasn’t been scheduled yet, but it will likely reconvene in a few weeks.
Politics isn’t the only obstacle to new elections as a fresh vote requires amending Peru’s constitution, which can take months. Congress can either vote in two separate legislative sessions or have a vote and a nationwide referendum. Early elections would also lead to lawmakers losing their jobs without the possibility of reelection.
Peruvians, who have lived under five different presidents since 2020, are used to political instability. Boluarte took over last December after her predecessor Pedro Castillo tried to dissolve congress but was instead impeached and arrested.
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