Peru’s Cabinet Seeks New Legislative Powers on Economy From Congress

The government of Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said Thursday that it will request special powers to legislate economic policies from the opposition-ruled Congress, after growth slowed sharply during his first year in office.

During a presentation in Congress, Prime Minister Mercedes Araoz said her cabinet wants to legislate policies aimed at consolidating an incipient economic recovery and making Peru a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a wealthy-country think tank.

In Peru, Congress traditionally grants legislative powers to the executive branch at the start of a president’s term, and it is rare for a prime minister to seek them so far into an administration – underscoring ongoing worries about the economy.

Growth in Peru, one of the region’s most robust economies, faltered early this year after a corruption scandal halted public work projects and severe flooding destroyed billions of dollars in infrastructure.

The government and central bank now expect the economy to grow by about 2.8 percent this year thanks to better prices for Peru’s key copper exports, down from 3.9 percent last year.

Araoz said the economy should expand by at least 4 percent in coming years.

It was unclear whether the opposition would grant the government its request for new legislative powers following a political crisis in September that ended with Congress ousting Kuczynski’s former cabinet.

Kuczynski appointed a more socially conservative cabinet led by Araoz that won initial praise from the right-wing populist party Popular Force, which has an absolute majority in Congress.

But Congress must approve the new cabinet with a vote of confidence scheduled for Thursday.

Araoz said that she would present the request for legislative powers in coming days.

Congress gave Kuczynski legislative authority on economic policies in September 2016, which his government used to pass laws aimed at reducing and expediting bureaucratic permits.

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