Prime Minister censured
Prime Minister Ana Jara Velásquez was forced to resign from her post yesterday afternoon after Congress voted in favour of a censure motion by 72 to 42 votes.
The move came after a weekly newspaper, Correo Semanal, published a list of politicians, journalists, activists and businessmen who had been spied upon by the National Intelligence Office (DINI). Although the spying is believed to have started before the term of the current President, Ollanta Humala, possibly as far back as 2000 it is the recent report which has triggered the vote.
Members of the ruling Peru Wins (Gana Perú) party said that the move had been a political one as the country leads up to a general election in 2016. The Prime Minister herself said that the move had been a ‘political trial’ and that she had already asked the Attorney General’s Office to initiate investigations into whether the DINI actions were criminal.
President Ollanta Humala now has 72 hours to name a new Prime Minister and head of Cabinet and possibly carry out a further reshuffle of his Cabinet. The move by Congress also suggests that the President’s powers are now being challenged by the opposition dominated parliament as it leads up to the general election. Humala is not entitled to stand again after completing his one term in office.
The Andina news agency reports the President as saying “I regret such an act was carried out yesterday, which we respect because it is part of the democratic game, but which we consider as an injustice.”