A fragmented Congress is a factor that limits the presidential power of Castillo, and of those who preceded him and of those who will succeed him.
Milagros Pichardo Pérez
Granma | August 05, 2022
Early elections, vacancy motion or dissolution of the Congress are some of the possible solutions to the political crisis in Peru, none of them flattering for Pedro Castillo, who recently arrived to his first year in power.
However, these options do not represent an escape from the deep and profound instability this nation has been experiencing for a long time; only that the 52-year-old rural teacher is now the one on the spotlight.
Castillo’s first year in office has been stormy, characterized by multiple and continuous obstacles to the point several experts have agreed he would not be able to serve the five years for which he was elected. Apparently, in that country, each new appointment seems like deja vu, as the same thing has happened with the few last heads of state.
However, we cannot forget that the current President arrived at the Pizarro Palace after defeating right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori in the second round by a few votes. His meager victory already anticipated numerous difficulties.
Initially, he tried to implement a more left-leaning program, but the constant internal setbacks -more than 50 people have passed through 19 portfolios during this year-, the difficulties to fulfill his campaign promises, the worldwide economic recession, the weakening of state institutions, the permanence of accumulated social problems and an implacable opposition (53.6 % of the people consider that the opposition is boycotting the Government) have made 76 % of Peruvians disapprove of Castillo’s presidency, according to Ipsos data.
As if that were not enough, he faces five preliminary investigations for alleged acts of corruption. And this is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to govern in Peru. It is no coincidence that more than half of Peruvians said that corruption is the most important problem in the South American country, according to a May 2022 Statista survey.
Since the beginning of the 21st century to date, six presidents have been elected by popular vote. However, for different reasons, such as vacancy or dismissal, ten men have passed through the Government Palace in Lima, and all of them have been convicted or face legal proceedings.
On the other hand, political instability over the years limits the investment and effective execution of social and public policies, which makes possible the accumulation of problems such as crime, high prices, unemployment, poverty, inadequate education, gender violence and unhealthy conditions, among others.
The International Monetary Fund warns that “uncertainty around the outlook is high and the balance of risks is tilted to the downside.”
There is also the issue of the Congress (unicameral), which has been a real thorn in the side of the presidents, and no wonder: with only 130 members representing more than 33 million Peruvians, it has 14 political forces. Definitely, a fragmented Congress is a factor that limits the presidential power of Castillo, of those who preceded him, and of those who will succeed him.
Although for many the change of political authorities could represent the solution, it would only be momentary and cause more uncertainty. Under the current conditions, nothing guarantees that the government or the Congress that will be installed will be better than the current or the previous one.
Castillo is only the current president against whom all the cannons are pointing at in a country where it has become tradition for the president to remain in power or five years and without constant scandals.