President Pedro Castillo announced on Wednesday that he would temporarily dissolve Congress, hours before the legislature convenes for a motion of no confidence in the president and approves his impeachment.
But what does the Constitution of Peru say about this? The constitutional text gives the president the power to dissolve Congress – but only in certain cases.
Castillo’s decision to dissolve Congress was an unconstitutional move, according to the consensus of constitutional analysts in Peru.
According to article 134, the president has the power to dissolve Congress “if he has censured or withheld his confidence” in two government ministers – called members of the Council of Ministers – which has not happened in the country.
What happened was that on November 11, the Peruvian Congress refused to address the procedure known as the “question of confidence” requested by the executive. A few days later, Castillo accepted the resignation of the president of the Council of Ministers, Aníbal Torres.
Torres tendered his resignation after congressional administrators, known as the “Mesa directiva”, rejected his request to change the circumstances under which a referendum could be held.
Although the legality of the request was a matter of debate, there was still no second censure or denial of confidence to a government minister, as required by the Constitution, making Castillo’s request for dissolution illegal.
Wednesday’s impeachment motion was the third attempt against Castillo — and the fifth for a sitting president in the past five years.
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