Peru’s President Vizcarra Threatens to Shut Down Congress

The government of Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra made a last-minute appeal to Congress to halt the opposition’s plans to name new members of Peru’s top court Monday, a vote that Vizcarra warned would lead him to close Congress.

Vizcarra said he was prepared to take what would be a drastic step under the constitution to keep lawmakers from appointing up to six out of seven justices in the Constitutional Tribunal (TC), a likely referee in any legal dispute between the government and Congress.

Opposition lawmakers say they will resist any attempt to dismiss them. They accuse Vizcarra of trying to orchestrate a power grab.

“… We hope that reason and the interests of the country will triumph,” Prime Minister Salvador del Solar said as he walked to Congress to deliver a formal request for an “urgent” vote-of-confidence on the matter.

The power struggle between the executive and legislature has brought Peru’s young democracy to the brink of a constitutional crisis, threatening to grind lawmaking to a halt and potentially trigger unrest in one of Latin America’s most stable economies.

The sol currency opened down 0.35 percent against the dollar Monday. Late last week, it fell 1 percent as the market braced for an ugly political showdown.

Congress is scheduled to vote on proposed TC nominees early Monday and take up the vote-of-confidence request toward the end of the day, according to Peruvian media.