On Thursday night, Peru’s Congress voted to give the executive branch broad powers to restructure the country’s armed forces and police.
In a series of closely-held votes (including one 53-52 decision), Congress decided to grant the Departments of Interior and Defense the ability to legislate on areas such as the structure of the police force, the role that the military will play in domestic operations, the salary structure for the police and armed forces, the role that both the police and military will play in stopping the flow of chemicals and machinery to the drug trade, and the creation of a centralized purchasing agency to supply the police and military.
The vote came after the new defense minister, Pedro Cateriano, announced that he would resign if Congress did not delegate such authority to the executive branch. Cateriano has held the position since his appointment in late July, the fourth person to serve as defense minister in President Ollanta Humala’s administration.
The interior minister, Wilfredo Pedraza, said that the packet of changes did not touch on issues surrounding citizen security, but that he will present them when the Cabinet attends a session of Congress soon.
The executive branch has asked for Congress to delegate responsibility to deal with various issues throughout the first year of Humala’s administration. Most recently, Congress gave the Ministry of Economy and Finance the ability to restructure Peru’s tax code.