President of Peru’s Judiciary Calls for Review of Recall Legislation

Mendoza, EnriqueThe head of Peru’s Judicial Branch, Enrique Mendoza, said Tuesday that he would like to see authorities revise legislation that allows recall elections for municipal, provincial and regional authorities.

Mendoza, who is also the former head of Peru’s National Elections Board, said that referendums can cause unneeded uncertainty, state news agency Andina reported.

Mendoza’s opinion was echoed this week by the president of the Constitutional Court, Oscar Urviola, who suggests the need for a constitutional and legal debate on the need to Urviola, Oscardefine specific causes for a recall, which since it was incorporated into the Constitution in Peru [1993] “has been used for revenge to bring down the winning contender in district communities.”

“Anyone can ask for a recall,” said Mendoza. “This creates anxiety… and in the end it doesn’t allow for the development of medium and long-term projects.”

Last year, constitutional specialist Enrique Bernales and jurist Greta Minaya also criticized the recall guidelines, as did the People’s Ombudsman Office.

In the provinces, for a recall request to be approved, the recallers need to collect signatures from 25% of the voting population.  In Lima, however, a city of 9 million, only 400,000 signatures are needed to request a recall. In all cases, no real cause or proof is required to make the request.

Mendoza said he would like the legislation to be reviewed especially for provincial authorities, as well as for mayors and others who manage major urban cities, like Lima.

His comments follow a referendum against Lima Mayor Susana Villaran on Sunday. Villaran has won the vote —although she has lost her closest council members— thanks to a strong campaign in the final weeks that saw her overcome political opponents who wanted her kicked out of office early.

While recall votes have been used hundreds of times in Peru, this was the first time that it has occurred in Lima. The city, which is home to some 9 million people, is Peru’s political and financial hub.

Supporters of Villaran were concerned that a successful referendum could cause problems in Lima, as many public works and reforms could become tied up.

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