Peru: Prime Minister requests Congress vote of confidence amid “Rolex-gate”

A vote of confidence from his parliament will ask today (03.04.2024) the country’s young Gustavo Hadriansen, amid a scandal associated with expensive watches by President Dina Bolwarte who caused electroshock to its fragile government. Peru Prime Minister Gustavo Adriansen, a 57-year-old centre-right lawyer, was named in early March as the successor of Albert Otarola, after the latter resigned due to an investigation against him for exercising undue influence over a consideration. The Peruvian Constitution provides that within thirty days after being named, the Prime Minister or Prime Minister must be presented before Congress to present on all matters the policy he will exercise and request a vote of confidence. In Congress they have the majority parties of the right and extreme right who generally support President Bolwarte. To secure a vote of confidence, Mr. Adriansen will need to secure 50% plus one vote (or in other words 65 votes, parliament has 130 seats) It is generally thought that the Peruvian right will give him a vote of confidence. “We must give a vote of confidence to guarantee that the country will be governed”, as we are in a crisis situation,” parliamentary Jorge Montoya, the right-wing party Renovación Popular (People’s Renewal) told the press. The vote will take place at the time when President Bolwarte has been involved in various cases, with the most recent one concerning the investigation against illegal enrichment, on the occasion of Rolex watches which she allegedly did not include in her property statements. Her home in a suburb of the capital and the presidential office were investigated on Saturday by police and prosecutorial officials as part of the investigation. The Rolexes were not found and the prosecution demanded that the head of state present them when she came to testify the day after Friday. Yesterday, Attorney General Juan Villena announced that the investigation will also include jewelry, including a $56,000 bracelet, and bank deposits of about US$270,000 between 2021 and 2022. The scandal, christened “Rolex-gate” by the Peruvian press, broke out on March 15, when news site began posting pictures in which Mrs. Bolwarte is pictured wearing various expensive watches during the time he was in government in 2021 and 2022. ‘Political arena’ Mrs. Bolwarte, whose popularity does not exceed 10%, according to polls, assured that she has “clean hands” and that she has only one watch in her possession. Amid the scandal, six of her eighteen government members announced they resign on Monday. The Minister of the Interior — as of his office the one responsible for the police — invoked “family problems”, the Ministers for Education, Women, Rural Development, Production and Foreign Trade gave no explanation. In the night, Mrs. Bolwarte swore six new ministers. Even if prosecution is brought against her for illegal enrichment, under the Constitution the head of state cannot be tried until after July 2026, in other words after the end of her term. Therefore, the “whether to remain in the presidency” or not will be judged “in the political arena, in parliament”, noted political analyst Augusto Alvarez Rodrich. The opposition filed on Saturday a request to initiate a process to remove the president from office due to “permanent moral incompetence”. The initiative was taken by Perú Libre (“Free Peru”), a party to which Mrs Bolwarte belonged before taking over the presidency, and supported by 30 parliamentarians. However, in order to enter into dialogue, more than fifty Members of Parliament must be given the support, which is not certain at this stage. This is the third time Mrs. Bolwarte’s pause from the left has been initiated. No attempt even reached the procedure of the pre-daily congressional meeting arrangement. The president, 61 years old, also faces research with much heavier indictment, for “genocide”, “serial homicides with aggravating circumstances” and “provoking serious physical harm”, due to the deaths of more than 50 people in the months of riots that followed its emergence to power. Dina Bolwarte became Peru’s caretaker president after the cessation of Congress and the arrest by police in December 2022 of Pedro Castillo’s predecessor, elected with a party of the radical left, whose vice president was. Peru has met six presidents since 2016.