Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Censure motion against Peruvian Cabinet Chief defeated due to suspension of Nationalist Party legislators.

Kiraz Janicke

The Peruvian congress today rejected a censure motion against the Cabinet Chief Yehude Simon and Interior Minister, Mercedes Cabanillas, in relation to their handling of indigenous protests which lead to the Bagua massacre on June 5. Although the measure had majority support it did not count with the required number of votes to make it binding.

The censure motion against Simon counted with 56 votes in favor, 32 against and 11 abstentions.Similarly the censure motion against the interior minister received 55 votes in favor, 35 against and nine abstentions. According to parliamentary regulations, the motions required a majority of more than half the number of full members of congress, which is 61 votes.

The majority of opposition parties from Lourdes Flores’s rightwing National Unity party, the supporters of former president Alberto Fujimori, the Parliamentary Allianceand the Popular Bloc to the left-wing Nationalist Party voted in favor of the censure motion, which placed political responsibility for the clashes at Bagua, which left scores dead and hundreds disappeared, on Simon and Cabanillas.

President Garcia’s APRA party voted against the censure motion and parliamentarians from the Union for Peru (UPP) abstained, with the exception of legislator Isaac Serna who voted in favor of the motion.

However, seven Nationalist Party members, who were suspended for protesting Garcia’s unconstitutional decrees, which would have opened up vast swathes of indigenous peoples land in the Amazon for exploitation, were not permitted to exercise their right to vote. With the votes of these legislators the censure motion would have been passed.

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