Peru PM eyes popular vote on new constitution in 2026 election

People hold Peru's national flag during an event with Peru's President Pedro Castillo (not pictured), at the Pampas de Ayacucho Historic Sanctuary, in Ayacucho, Peru July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Angela Ponce

LIMA, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Peru's new Prime Minister Hector Valer said on Wednesday that he hopes to consult the country in the next presidential election - set for 2026 - on whether Peruvians would like to redraft their constitution, a campaign promise of President Pedro Castillo.

Valer, a lawyer by training, does not belong to Castillo's Marxist-Leninist Peru Libre party. He ran for Congress with a right-wing party before joining a bloc that is close to the president and is pushing for a constitutional overhaul.

"We hope that in the next general elections in 2026 we can...have a constitution-making moment," Valer told radio RPP.

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There needs to be a "mechanism to make the people aware regarding a constituent assembly, which should not happen from one day to the next", he said, adding he wanted to avoid the violence witnessed in neighbor Chile before it set up its Constitutional assembly.

Redrafting Peru's market-friendly constitution has been a matter of concern for investors who fear a rewrite could increase state intervention.

But Valer said he would work with all political and business sectors to create consensus over a Constitutional assembly.

"Only that way can we calm the country and guarantee more national and international investment," Valer said.

Valer, a lawmaker and member of the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei, was named prime minister on Tuesday, the third person to take on the role since Castillo was inaugurated six months ago.

Castillo's new cabinet leans more to the right than his previous two iterations, even though rewriting the constitution had not been a priority earlier in his administration.

Peru's sol currency was up 0.9% on Wednesday after Castillo named technocrat Oscar Graham to the key finance ministry post.

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Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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