(CNN Spanish) — The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, denied this Saturday night that his government is planning to close the Congress of the Republic: “At a difficult time for the country, with a crisis due to the fifth wave of the pandemic, I ratify my commitment to democracy, the rule of law, the Constitution, and I strongly reject that my government is plotting a closure of Congress to avoid a vacancy”, said the president on his Twitter account.
The presidency of the Council of Ministers also spoke out and pointed out that the government “is respectful of democratic principles” and asked “not to fall into speculation about an alleged breakdown of the constitutional order.” he noted on Twitter.
The executive’s pronouncement occurs after rumors of an attempt to close Congress originated after the resignation of Defense Minister Daniel Barragán, who announced it through his Twitter account. Barragán said that his decision was “irrevocable” and “for strictly personal reasons” and made public the letter that he addressed to President Pedro Castillo.
After Barragán’s resignation, Congressman Carlos Anderson asked the Executive to rule on “rumors of an unconstitutional closure of Congress.”
Pedro Castillo’s position occurs days after the president is invited to the Congress of the Republic to defend himself against a vacancy motion for moral incapacity promoted against him and that seeks to remove him from office. Castillo has several tax investigations open for alleged crimes of corruption committed during his government. The president denies the accusations that also involve his family and his closest circle of collaborators.
A few days ago, Congress filed a precautionary measure and a jurisdictional claim before the highest interpreter of the Constitution in Peru, the Constitutional Court, after the Executive Branch interpreted that Parliament had denied it a question of confidence requested by the former president of the Council of Ministers Aníbal Torres. Faced with two refusals of confidence, the president is empowered to dissolve Congress according to the magna carta.
The Court granted Congress the precautionary measure and stated that it “suspends any effect that could derive from the agreement adopted by the Executive Power to interpret trust as denied…”. The president of Congress and various opposition congressmen have denounced that Pedro Castillo’s intention is to dissolve parliament, which has several processes pending against him, including the vacancy motion that will be heard this Wednesday.