A plenary session of the Peruvian Congress Thursday rejected a proposal to move the date of the general election forward to July 2023 from the current April 2024 date. The Peru Libre party presented the proposal for debate following the Council of Minister’s approval of President Dina Boluarte’s second constitutional reform bill, which would move general elections for president, vice president and congressional representatives to the second Sunday of October 2023.
Congress voted on the issue twice, but the proposal failed both times. The first vote failed with only 48 votes in favor, 75 against and one abstention. The second vote failed with 47 votes in favor and 78 against.
On Wednesday, Congress failed to pass the first constitutional reform bill which would have general elections to December. The bill failed with only 52 representatives voting in favor, 58 against and 2 abstentions. In issuing the second constitutional reform bill, Boluarte said she regretted the fact that Congress rejected the first bill. Boluarte urged Congress to view the situation with a sense of responsibility and urgency.
Boluarte assumed office on December 7, 2022, following Congress’s decision to remove former President Pedro Castillo. While her presidential term was meant to last through 2026, in the midst of nationwide protests, Boluarte has repeatedly tried to move the general election forward in time.
According to Human Rights Watch, former President Pedro Castillo attempted “to undermine the rule of law” in December when he “announced the temporary dissolution of Congress and the ‘reorganization’ of the judiciary, the Public Ministry, and other institutions, in what was effectively a coup.” Authorities removed Castillo and sentenced him to 18 months of pre-trial detention on rebellion charges, and Boluarte took office. The current unrest demands Boluarte’s removal and new elections. “I will not resign. My commitment is with Peru,” Boluarte said in a televised address.
Nationwide protests against Boluarte’s government are ongoing. On Thursday, the Ombudsman Office of Peru reported that a total of 58 people have died as a result of the protests.