On March 16, the Preparatory Board of the Congress of Peru gave the green light to the 130 elected legislators on January 26. Due to the national COVID-19 emergency, Congress also voted in favor of bringing forward the election of the Board of Directors. With 93 votes in favor, Congressman Manuel Merino De Lama (Acción Popular – opposition) was elected president of Congress for the 2020 – 2021 Annual Sessions. The Congress has already taken office.
The legislators flanking Merino De Lama on the Board of Directors will be Congressman Luis Alberto Valdez Farias (Alianza para el Progreso – opposition), as first vice president; Guillermo Aliaga Pajares (Somos Perú – allies of the ruling party), as second vice president and Congresswoman María Teresa Cabrera Vega (Podemos Perú – allies of the ruling party) as third vice president.
In his speech, the newly-elected President of the Legislative Branch stated that actions must be taken together with the Executive Branch to tackle the relentless spread of COVID-19. De Lama said that “a huge task awaits them” and proposed that the National Security Council, headed by the President of the Republic, be joined by representatives from the health sector which is the most affected by the emergency situation. “This will allow the strategic body handling the health emergency to have the health sector on board.”
The new Congress already has a legislative agenda in place for the coming months. Its first task is to analyze the decrees issued by the Executive Branch while the Legislative Branch was not in office. It will also have to study the Political and Judicial Reform to be driven by the Government in the coming months. Likewise, Merino De Lama mentioned that immediate measures must be taken to mitigate the social impact of the COVID-19 on the country