LIMA – Peruvian President Ollanta Humala is faced with a severe political crisis after the censure of Prime Minister Ana Jara over an espionage scandal.
The President must now try to find a new Cabinet acceptable to the opposition-controlled Congress.
The Peruvian opposition raised on Monday the 72 votes it required to carry a censure motion against Jara, accused of collecting data on politicians, journalists and businessmen for the intelligence services.
With little more than a year left of his mandate, Humala is obliged to accept the resignation of Jara and her ministers and appoint a new cabinet within 72 hours.
If Congress, already under the control of the opposition, has no confidence in the new Cabinet, the President has the right to dissolve parliament and hold legislative elections.
Without a majority in Congress, Humala will have to find a consensus figure acceptable to the opposition to lead what will be the seventh cabinet of his term.
The cabinet’s censure comes at a critical moment for Humala, already caught up in the case of fugitive businessman Martin Belaunde, one of his top advisors in the 2006 electoral campaign, who has sought refuge in Bolivia as Peruvian authorities demand he respond to corruption allegations.
Added to this is tension with Chile over another alleged case of espionage, and an economy that continues to lose momentum.
Humala considers Jara’s censure unfair, saying “irresponsible acts of the Congress destabilizes the nation and creates political noise that affects the investments in the country.”
He said he will appoint a new Prime Minister, but gave no more detail.
In February, Humala restructured his Cabinet and replaced five ministers to avoid censure and ease months of high political tensions, after the opposition first threatened Jara following reports in January of her involvement in spying on opposition members.
Ultimately, the censure motion was presented and carried by congressmen from the parties of former Presidents Alberto Fujimori and Alan Garcia, the Christian People’s Party and the Alliance for Progress party, who were unmoved by Jara’s March 20 explanation to Congress.