Peru came a step closer to ending 12 years of military rule on Thursday (12 July) when members of the country's Constituent Assembly signed a new constitution.
Peru came a step closer to ending 12 years of military rule on Thursday (12 July) when members of the country's Constituent Assembly signed a new constitution. The document is designed to convert the military dictatorship into a democracy by the summer of 1980. But illness prevented the President of the Constituent Assembly, Victor Raul Haya de la Torre, from attending the official ceremony. His place was taken by the Assembly's provisional President, Luis Alberto Sanchez.
SYNOPSIS: Senor Haya is recovering in this house from a heart attack. Despite this, Assembly members were anxious that their President should sign the new constitution. Doctors originally opposed the idea, but relented and allowed members to bring the constitution to Senor Haya for his signature. Senor Haya leads the important Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana party (APRA), and his continuing ill-health poses serious problems for the party which adopted him as their Presidential candidate earlier this month.
The Peruvian Congress was suspended indefinitely after a military coup in October, 1968. But the country's President, Francisco Morales Bermudez, has pledged a return to democracy by 1980, and the new constitution is a vital step towards establishing a civilian government.
Several articles in the constitution -- including those giving the vote to Peru's two and a half million illiterates -- take effect immediately. The rest will not become effective until the inauguration of the new government, tentatively set for July the twenty eighth, 1980.