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Peru congress committee halts new bid to advance elections

Another bill to advance Peru's elections to this year has been blocked by a congressional committee due to procedural objections. (File photo)

Another bill to advance Peru's elections to this year, which President Dina Boluarte hopes will quell ongoing deadly unrest, was blocked by a congressional committee on Friday due to procedural objections.

The fresh legislative setback followed the failure of two other bills over the past few days that would have advanced elections currently slated for April 2024 into 2023 -- a key demand of protesters who have been in the streets since early December.

Alejandro Cavero, a right-wing member of Congress who sought to halt the bill's advancement, told reporters Friday that he raised parliamentary objections in a meeting of the Constitutional Committee, before the bill could even be debated.

"The regulations of Congress clearly stipulate that a matter that has already been shelved cannot be discussed again in the committee until the next legislative session," he said.

Peru's Congress begins new sessions on July 27 of each year.

"What I have responsibly done... today in the Constitutional Committee is to let this issue rest for a prudent period," Cavero, who is a member the committee, said.

The bill rejected on Thursday, in addition to moving elections up from April 2024 to 2023, included the calling of a referendum on forming a constitutional convention -- another key demand of protesters.

Peru has been embroiled in a political crisis with near-daily demonstrations since December 7, when then-president Pedro Castillo was arrested after attempting to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.

In seven weeks of demonstrations, 48 people -- including a police officer -- have been killed in clashes between security forces and protesters, according to the human rights ombudsman's office.

In December, lawmakers moved elections, originally due in 2026, up to April 2024, but as protesters dug in their heels, Boluarte, Castillo's former vice president, called for holding the vote this year instead.

(Source: AFP)

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