October 29, 2019 / 8:43 PM / a month ago

Peru's top court accepts lawsuit against Vizcarra's closure of Congress

FILE PHOTO: Peru's President Martin Vizcarra addresses the nation, as he announces he was dissolving Congress, at the government palace in Lima, Peru September 30, 2019. Peruvian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Peru’s top court on Tuesday accepted a lawsuit to determine whether President Martin Vizcarra exceeded his powers by dissolving Congress last month amid a long-running standoff with lawmakers over anti-corruption reforms.

The seven members of Peru’s Constitutional Tribunal unanimously voted to admit the suit, court president Ernesto Blume said, the latest development in a battle between Vizcarra and lawmakers that has rattled the South American country.

Pedro Olaechea, the former Congress president who now leads a smaller permanent parliamentary commission, submitted the appeal earlier this month against the “arbitrary” dissolution of Congress.

Vizcarra’s shutdown of Congress garnered support from the armed forces in the copper-rich nation, as well as the police and Peru’s voters. A poll showed his popular support had jumped to the highest level during his administration.

The past three years in Peru have been marked by repeated clashes between the executive and legislative branches and back-to-back corruption scandals, including one that led former president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to resign in March last year.

Blume said on Tuesday the court would not for now overturn the closure of Congress, and previously at least two members of the court have said that the legal process could take up to three or four months.

There are legislative elections already scheduled for Jan. 26 to elect new Congress members.

Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Matthew Lewis

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