Peru’s top court says Vizcarra’s closure of Congress was legal

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FILE PHOTO: Peru’s President Martin Vizcarra attends a swearing-in ceremony at the government palace in Lima, Peru October 3, 2019. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

LIMA (Reuters) – In a win for Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, the country’s top court ruled on Tuesday that his dissolution of Congress amid a long-running standoff with lawmakers was legal.

With four votes in favour and three votes against, the court said a claim that Vizcarra exceeded his powers by dissolving Congress on Sept. 30 was unfounded. The decision means legislative elections will move forward on Jan. 26.

Vizcarra dissolved Congress amid a protracted showdown with lawmakers over anti-corruption reforms. The move won him support among the armed forces, police and voters in the copper-rich nation.

In October, Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal unanimously voted to admit a lawsuit to determine whether Vizcarra exceeded his powers with the shutdown.

The dissolution of Congress had been rejected mostly by lawmakers from the right-wing Popular Force party of opposition leader Keiko Fujimori.

The daughter of disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori was jailed last year for alleged money laundering and receiving illegal contributions from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

Reporting by Marco Aquino; writing by Cassandra Garrison

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