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.
GV EXTERIOR House where President of Constituent Assembly Victor Raul Haya de la Torre is convalescing.
SVs Cars bringing visitors to Senor Haya's beside passing through gates of house. (2 SHOTS)
GV TILT DOWN Congress building and armed guard.
SVs INTERIOR Congress members signing constitution watched by newsmen. (2 SHOTS)
SV PAN Congress members queuing to sign document.
SV Provisional President of Constituent Assembly Luis Alberto Sanchez (centre of front group with glasses) arriving to sign constitution.
Peru's 18th constitution follows a year's work by one hundred elected politicians ranging from conservatives to communists. It abolishes the death penalty, except in cases of war or high treason, and includes sweeping land reforms. It most revolutionary feature is aimed at discouraging further military coups in a country where the army has seized power six times in the past fifty years. General elections are expected in March or April, 1980, when the country's new President will need 36 percent of the vote to be elected.
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Background: 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.