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Peruvians vote on four key constitutional amendments on December 10

On December 10, Peruvians participated in a referendum on four key constitutional amendments related to the political and judicial systems. According to unofficial results, around 80% voted in favor of creating the National Justice Board (JNJ), which will be responsible for designating judges. Moreover, the JNJ will replace the former National Council of the Judiciary (CNM), disbanded in July 2018 after President Martín Vizcarra requested Congress to dissolve the body following a corruption scandal. Unlike the former CNM, members of the new JNJ will be chosen through a public contest. Separately, voters rejected a proposal to re-establish a bicameral system in Congress, eliminated by the 1993 constitution. Additionally, voters passed two provisions aimed at further regulating the financing of political parties. Finally, voters approved a provision prohibiting immediate re-election of legislators.

Considering the political capital President Vizcarra invested in the referendum, the successful vote will likely strengthen him, especially against the backdrop of corruption scandals undermining trust in public institutions. While the initiative to introduce bicameral reform failed, Vizcarra withdrew his support to the proposal after Congress modified his initial draft, adding provisions to curtail the president’s ability to dissolve Congress. The creation of the JNJ and likeminded rules to regulate the financing of political parties could improve transparency in the mid to long term, whereas the decision to prohibit the immediate re-election of deputies will not have a very large impact as only one of every five legislators has been re-elected at least once since 2001.

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