The army in Peru announced late Monday support for President Martin Vizcarra who signed an executive order earlier in the day dissolving the opposition-run Congress.
The statement from the army’s Twitter account affirmed all four bodies of the national security forces stand behind Vizcarra, igniting a power struggle between the executive and legislative branches that has brought the Latin American nation to the verge of a Venezuela-like constitutional crisis.
The president’s decision to dissolve Congress left the country at a political standstill, as opposition lawmakers allege “permanent moral incapacity” and began a process to remove Vizcarra from office.
“Let the people finally decide. The closure I have done is within my powers permitted by the Constitution. Ending this stage of political entrapment so that the future of the country be defined at the polls,” Vizcarra said in a speech from the Government Palace.
Vizcarra dissolved Congress to prevent lawmakers from appointing as many as six out of seven justices to the Constitutional Court — a key referee in settling legal disputes between the government and Congress, according to the local media.
“President Martin Vizcarra is announcing a coup d’etat,” said Peruvian congressman Salvador Heresi. “He would go down in history as a dictator,” as reported by the online media outlet Telesur.
The Constitution authorizes the president to dissolve Congress to call new polls if the assembly delivers two votes of no-confidence in a government.
The Congress has rejected a confidence vote once and shelved Vizcarra’s proposal Thursday for a snap election.
Due to limits on consecutive terms, Vizcarra cannot run in the next election.
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