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Cablegate: Attempt to Facilitate Passage of Macro-Region

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS LIMA 004650

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PE
SUBJECT: ATTEMPT TO FACILITATE PASSAGE OF MACRO-REGION
REFERENDA FAILS IN CONGRESS

REF: A. LIMA 4634
B. LIMA 4633

1. Despite a furious last-minute push from President
Alejandro Toledo, with support from presidential hopefuls
Lourdes Flores and Valentin Paniagua, proponents of
legislative changes to facilitate the passage of the 10/30
macro-region referenda (Refs) failed to obtain the necessary
61-vote absolute majority (the final vote was 60-24 with
three abstentions) in a 10/27 Congress session. The
opposition APRA and Peru Ahora parties voted against, as
expected. The major surprise was that four members of
Lourdes Flores' Unidad Nacional alliance chose to absent
themselves just before the vote, despite that legislative
bloc's prior indication that it would heed her call to
support the bill. Had even one of the four voted "yes," the
legislation would have passed.

2. The proposed bill provided that only "yes" and "no" votes
would be counted to determine whether the 50 percent-plus-one
majority for approval of each macro-region was reached. It
also provided for a follow-up referenda in the case where two
or more (but not all) of the departments that would make up a
macro-region voted "yes." National Election Board (JNE)
President Enrique Mendoza previously stated that should the
bill fail to pass, all votes will be counted, including null
and blank votes, thereby raising the barrier for passage of
the referenda. In addition, he said, all departments that
would comprise each individual macro-region must vote in
favor for the macro-region to be established.

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3. COMMENT: The failure to pass the bill was a defeat for
the Government, which campaigned hard for its passage. It
also undercut the authority of Unidad Nacional leader Lourdes
Flores, who could not control her alliance's legislative bloc
despite making a public bid for its support. With all votes
being counted, blank and null ballots will effectively count
in the "no" column, making it that much more difficult for
the referenda to pass. END COMMENT.
STRUBLE

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