Peru Eyes Return to Bicameral Legislature

A congressional committee on Tuesday voted in favor of creating a Senate, which would result in a return to a bicameral legislature two decades after the Senate was dissolved by former President Alberto Fujimori.

The Congressional Constitution Committee approved a ruling to establish a bicameral legislature, returning to a system that includes a Senate and a Chamber of Deputies, according to daily Peru.21.

Supporters of the bicameral legislature say that the current unicameral system isn’t sufficient to represent the country’s some 30 million citizens. Opponents say it would add unnecessary state expenses and would not guarantee any improvement.

Peru’s bicameral system was re-established in 1980, when the country returned to democracy after 11 years of military dictatorship. However, the Senate and Chamber of Deputies were closed in 1992 by former President Fujimori in his self-coup, arguing that the move was necessary in order to pass much-needed reforms and turn around the economy as well as fight a violent Shining Path insurgency.

A year later, Fujimori called elections of a Constitutional Assembly and a new Constitution was written, which established the unicameral system still used today.

Peruvian politicians have tried in the past to return to the bicameral system. In 2003, a few years after the fall of the Fujimori regime, legislators voted in favor of bicameral legislature.

The head of Congress’ Constitution Committee, Omar Chehade, said that some changes could still be made to the ruling before it is presented to the general session for its approval.

The committee’s ruling also includes a motion to appoint former Presidents of “democratic governments” as life senators, which would automatically give them parliamentary immunity after they finish their term.

The measure comes as former President Alan Garcia is currently being investigated for corruption during his 2006 to 2011 administration. His predecessor, Alejandro Toledo, has also come under fire for the questionable purchase of expensive real-estate properties in Lima. Meanwhile, Fujimori is currently in jail for human rights violations and corruption committed during his administration.

Garcia, however, was quick to answer on Twitter that he disagreed with this proposal, which was “useless, anti-historical and unpopular. Don’t count on me.”

Any amendments to the Constitution require two legislative terms to be approved.

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One Comment

  1. Creating a Senate would only increase the amount of corruption, with more opportunity to sell Senate votes.

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